Students from South and City College checked into Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre to gain hands-on experience of what a career in hospitality can offer.
A group of 19 from the college’s travel and tourism course were invited to each shadow a key role including spending time with the hotel manager and group HR manager, working in the kitchen, on reception and with the front of house team as part of a fully interactive week of learning.
Taking their studies out of the classroom, the students got to see everything that goes into the day-to-day running of a hotel, from managing teams to checking in guests, and preparing lunch and dinner to serving food and drinks.
The students also got to practice their application and interview skills, helping them prepare for life after college.
The industry faces challenges in recruiting and retaining talented people, which a new voluntary code being driven by People 1st International is aiming to alleviate. The hotel’s owner Cairn Group is one of the latest operators to pledge its support to this code known as ‘Our Hospitality Commitment’, inspiring them to undertake initiatives like this.
Nikki Morris, the hotel’s manager said: “A career in hospitality can be exciting, rewarding and different every day, with great progression and development opportunities. There’s no better way to shout about this than by letting people experience it for themselves.
“The team here loved sharing their knowledge and experience and we hope the students got just as much out of it. If their time with us helps to inspire them to take up a career in hospitality I’d be really pleased, and we’d welcome them to get in touch once they are looking for a job.”
Sukaina Walji, head of school travel & tourism at South and City College added: “The hotel takeover is a really positive and realistic experience for our students; from the application process and interview to the actual on-the-job experience, enabling students to build on their employability skills.
“We have been really blown away with the positive feedback from the hotel and the students themselves, and look forward to building on the partnership with the hotel further.”
Chris Whiting, group HR manager at Cairn Group added: “Hospitality careers are on the whole under marketed and undersold which is why we wanted to run an initiative like this, opening our doors to who could be the likes of general managers and reception teams of the future. It’s so important we all contribute to changing perceptions to make hospitality a career of choice.”
Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre is a 261-bedroom hotel in the centre of Birmingham. The adjoining Birmingham Conference & Events Centre (BCEC) is also owned and operated by Cairn Group.