The East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy for secondary school pupils has been designed to support Scotland’s £11bn tourism industry and comes as part of the Scottish Government’s aim to kick-start more employment opportunities for young people and streamline the transition between school, college, university and work. (See video below).
Thirty-eight pupils from the three schools will be the first to take part in the new Academy which started less than a month ago. It aims to raise standards across the hospitality and tourism industries by providing young people with the appropriate skills and attitudes to meet employer needs.
“The Scottish Government are of course committed to providing training and employment opportunities such as hospitality and tourism and I am delighted to welcome them to the Parliament,” said the academy’s local MSP, Kenny MacAskill.
The Scottish Parliamentary Reception will be hosted by MacAskill who will provide an introduction to the event, while an official address with be given by Fergus Ewing, the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.
The East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy is a partnership between Jewel & Esk College, Queen Margaret University and East Lothian Council. It is backed by some of the world’s biggest hotel brands including Marriott Hotels, Novotel, Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, Jurys Inn, Mercure and Best Western Edinburgh Capital Hotel. Prestonfield House, one of Edinburgh’s premier hotels has also pledged support as has Fraser Suites Edinburgh.
“I am pleased to be sponsoring this exciting event at the Parliament,” added MacAskill. “Jewel & Esk College have done a fantastic job, alongside East Lothian Hospitality & Tourism Academy at providing opportunities for students who are very keen, willing and able to study and learn new skills and to promote this important industry across the country.”
The British Hospitality Association Scotland's executive director, Willie Macloed, told BigHospitality the association welcomed the introduction of the academy.
“This represents a wonderful opportunity to introduce young people to the range of careers the industry offers as well as providing specific, practical and transferrable skills. The hospitality industry has great potential to create jobs for people of all ages, provided that they have the right attitude and are willing to learn," he said.
“The Academy will lend support to the work of organisations such as Springboard and HIT Scotland in promoting careers in hospitality and the wider work of colleges, businesses, People 1st and Skills Development Scotland in training and skills development. It will be important to monitor the progress of the Academy and, if possible, extend the opportunity to other areas of the country.”
Great business model
The Academy will also address the growing problem faced by many Scottish businesses which struggle to recruit local people with the right skills and attitudes to meet their needs.
Patricia Rainey, cluster director of HR at Marriott Hotels, said: “Hospitality and Tourism are growth sectors in the economy and need the best and brightest talent to satisfy the demand. There are excellent opportunities in our industry to grow and develop careers for our young people, whether through an academic route or from the ground floor up.
“As an employer, Marriott offers learning and development opportunities to young people and at the same time benefit from them practising these skills in our business. The Academy presents a great business model and one in which we are proud to be a partner.”
The news follows the injection of £1m of Scottish Government money into food and drink firmsas the nation gears up for a series of showcase events in 2014.
The cash supports the implementation of the Food and Drink 2014 Action Plan, which is designed to ensure producers and businesses are ready to grasp the opportunities offered that year by the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and the second Year of Homecoming.