Autism-friendly training hotel to open in Gateshead

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

John Heron (centre) and members of The Vault team
John Heron (centre) and members of The Vault team

Related tags: Hospitality industry

A £2m hotel designed to train young people with autism and learning difficulties to work in the hospitality industry is to open in Gateshead in October.

The St Camillus Care Group was last week (2 August) granted planning permission to transform the former Rivers Edge Hotel in to the specialist Vault Hotel.

Trainees will enroll on a 50-week programme where they will work in the kitchen, bar and develop customer service and financial skills, with the aim of securing full-time employment after the course.

The hotel’s 28 rooms will also be used to offer respite care for those with learning difficulties, and to give carers a break.

John Heron, managing director of St Camillus Care Group, said: “This is a real chance for young people aged from 18 to 25 to learn alongside professionals in the hospitality industry in a real setting, so that they can hopefully go on to a full time career.

“At the same time it’s also a place for people with autism and learning difficulties to come to and enjoy the facilities.”

The hotel already runs an American-style diner used by people with autism, but it is hoped this will eventually open to the public.

According to the National Autistic Society (NAS), 50 per cent of people with autism are discouraged from going out as they are worried about how people will react to their autism.

“The diner is a great place for families who may have young people with these challenges, knowing that they can come to a restaurant where people understand them and make no judgements,” said Heron.

The refurbishment will create 20 jobs, while 30 positions will become available within the hotel with it opens in October.

All training will run in partnership with Gateshead College's Project Choice scheme, which helps set up internships for young people with learning difficulties.

Related topics: People, Hotels, Recruitment & training, Venues

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