Is it really essential to enrol in a butler training programme to ‘become’ a butler? The slight misunderstanding is that being a butler is not a job, but a lifestyle. So, what training can make you change your lifestyle? That is a big goal to live up to.
Let us go back to the beginning where there were very few options to learn this trade. Butler schools did not exist, literature was rare. It was not only a profession learned on an estate or practical knowledge passed from father to son, but it was a job you ‘grew into’. You had to go through all the stages.
Fetching wood, cleaning shoes, then being given the opportunity to assist with waiting at the table, with the possibility becoming a valet and eventually becoming a head butler after years of being an under butler.
After the second world war and towards the eighties, the first butler school formed. The legendary Sir Ivor Spencer, took it upon himself to add to the British heritage by bringing this wonderful profession to the forefront with his butler school. His experience came from being a toastmaster.
However, with his undeniable charm, humour, knowledge and human insight he trained his students to become the best butlers to provide private service to the aristocracy.
In quick succession, other butler schools opened to where we are today. Schools with 3 days training to even several weeks and months. It was inevitable that online butler training solutions
So, there are many options available to those who wish to retrain for a career in private service to get the underpinning knowledge about the butler trade.
The essential parts of Butler training
Many people will advise you to do your research in terms of butler training programs and they are right. The traditional subjects should be present: laying a table, wardrobe management, table service and overall estate management.
In the 21st century it is imperative to add to the old curriculum. Management, leadership and technology are indispensable these days. Modern principals want your advice on the latest restaurants in the list of 50 best or expect you don’t frown when they ask you to fetch a pair of sneakers by Philipp Plein.
You should not underestimate the meaning of the word training. A theory driven, sit down program can not really be considered as a training. As with any athlete, training is about getting out there and repeating the skills you have acquired. Trying, failing and trying again. Over and over, until you get it right.
Therefore, it is very important to choose a training that support its theory with practical exercise. As real as possible. Serving real live guests is one example.
Not knowing what these guests will do during a dinner, a drink or a barbecue. Being faced with real life situations during training is the ideal way. A butler student with an elevated heartbeat because he forgot to provide a toothpick and the guest asked for the third time is the best way to never forget that potentiality again.
It is very much different than a trainer showing on a power-point slide: do not forget the toothpick.
The most essential part of butler training however, is not the curriculum. It is the ingredient that drives everything in hospitality: emotions. The way the school treats you. The way they care about you as a student. Good trainers will tell you what to do, great trainers will show you what to do, with empathy.
Good trainers will repeat everything twice, great butler trainers will assist you over and over again until you feel comfortable and self assured that you can do it. They give you self confidence and inspire you.
In short, you need a trainer that cares more about you than themselves. Exactly the same way how you will be treating your principal in your future job in a private household.
Do you really need to enrol on a butler training course?
The honest answer is no. Many skilled and hospitality professionals at heart have ‘rolled into’ domestic service and they do a great job. However, specialist and targeted training can be very helpful when it comes to upping your game:
- modern minded schools will give you the latest trends and insights
- you quickly get access to the butler network
- it is an investment for life! The techniques learned will service you always.
This being said, the training is the tip of the iceberg. Afterwards it is up to you to integrate it into your personality without losing your identity. A very good tip is to not only do a butler training but also self development courses.
That will really give you the insight if this is what you want. NLP, assertiveness training and others skills will all be a plus to your new lifestyle as a butler.
Do not ever choose to do a butler training to fulfil the promise of getting a job on a private estate by the school you are attending. Any such promise is the worst basis to start on.Vincent Vermeulen, MD, School For Butlers
The best way to describe it are the words of the late Steve Jobs:
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
A butler is a winner and a winner is a loser that never quits. Your first job is going to be the hardest to find. No one will do it for you. Keep your head up high, use what you have learned, be honest and give all your energy, everyday.
If you’re in hospitality, but would be interested in learning more about training as a Butler specifically, The School for Butlers are currently accepting new students for their online butler course, just click below to learn more