With the number of wealthy Chinese businessmen and women steadily rising, the demand for qualified and affordable butlers is also increasing.
International Butler Academy China, in Chengdu City, is busy training the next generation of white-gloved servants.
CGTN’s Su Yuting visited the school.
Among China’s wealthy business elite, there has been a surge in demand for western-trained butlers.
But before China’s next generation of top-class butlers can put on their white gloves and set tables with silver, they must first master what many might consider a more fundamental task: Smiling.
“Spreading happiness is important; I came here not only to learn skills, but also to try to become more outgoing,” according to student Ms. Xie. “I have watched ‘Downton Abbey,’ about the lives of well-to-do families and their servants. What we learned in our butler-training classes is very similar.”
The school’s courses include at least fifteen hours of training per day, six days a week. This regimen prepares students for the grueling schedules they’ll have in their future posts.
Beginning salaries are usually 2,500 to 3,000 euros a month.
“The main skills a butler needs to obtain is mostly soft skills: they need to be loyal, they need to be trust-worthy,” Lange said. “If you combine these values within your character, then you can start learning those technical skills, such as table service, household management and certain rules of etiquette and protocol.”
Students also learn how to select fine Chinese liquor, and how to properly serve Chinese food and tea.
Just as important as the practical skills, however, is the mindset that butlers must cultivate when working long hours for their employer.
“In today’s society, butlers are not just butlers,” according to director of training and executive head butler Karen Xiao. “They don’t only serve things; they play many different kinds of roles in the home.”