Students take over Norwich hotel for Big Hospitality Conversation

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Big hospitality conversation, Hotel

The Holiday Inn Norwich initiative is thought to be the ‘largest-ever student takeover in the UK’
The Holiday Inn Norwich initiative is thought to be the ‘largest-ever student takeover in the UK’
One hundred hospitality and catering students from City College Norwich took over the management of a local hotel this week to host the latest Big Hospitality Conversation event.

In what is thought to be the ‘largest-ever student takeover in the UK’, the students took charge of the four-star Holiday Inn Norwich as part of the British Hospitality Association’s on-going campaign to encourage more quality hospitality work experience, apprenticeships and jobs in the UK for 16-24 year olds.

“The successful annual takeover of the Holiday Inn Norwich North by our students shows what can be achieved in creating high quality work experience for young people,” said Corrienne Peasgood, principal of City College Norwich. “Working with employers to create invaluable real world experiences like this is a key part of our commitment as a Gazelle College. 

“The Big Hospitality Conversation offers a timely opportunity for hospitality businesses, young people and training providers to look at how we can do even more to support skills and employment in this important sector.”    

Hands-on experience

Holiday Inn Norwich’s general manager Bill Heath let students take on roles in reception, housekeeping, bar management, food preparation, food service and management. “In the experience the students gain from this initiative is invaluable in their understanding of the hotel industry,” he said.

“Nothing beats real, hands-on, work experience and because they were here for a week they got to see all aspects of how a busy hotel and conference hotel operates from one day to the next.”

As well as managing the hotel, students took over roles at Norwich International Airport as well as managing the Big Hospitality Conversation and the College’s hospitality centenary gala dinner.

Big Hospitality Conversation

The British Hospitality Association’s chief executive Ufi Ibrahim added:  “The Big Conversation is more than just a talking forum.  It leads to real opportunities, apprenticeships and work placements which in turn help to stimulate economic growth.  This is a powerful message for the hospitality industry to take to Government.”

In the past twelve months, over 1,200 industry representatives have attended the Big Hospitality Conversation events, pledging the creation of 33,000 new job opportunities between now and 2015.

The student takeover came just before National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place throughout the week and celebrates positive impact that apprenticeships have on the UK economy. Read more here.

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