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Since 2012, working with charities across Europe including the Prince's Trust and SOS Children’s Villages, Marriott Europe has provided around 4,000 apprenticeships, placements and training and development courses to young people through their ‘World of Opportunity’ programme. The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) member and Youth Career Initiative partner also provides training to young people through YCI in Romania, Poland and Hungary.
Since Marriott began World of Opportunity, it has donated more than €930,000 cash and €490,000 in-kind to its charitable partners along with 27,000 volunteer hours.
Ensuring the newly created opportunities are inclusive, they will be as available to disadvantaged young people as they are to higher education and university graduates. Marriott remains committed to finding and nurturing talents from a diverse population of Europe's youth. The initiative hopes to target the around five million unemployed young people across EU countries and address the key factor highlighted by the European Commission for this growing problem: a ‘skills mismatch’.
Announcing the new commitment, Amy McPherson, president and managing director of Marriott International Europe said, "Hotels are a people business, and although technology and mobile connectivity have enhanced the industry, it will, at its heart, always remain a people business. It has been extraordinary to watch the progress and commitment of young people rise up through the ranks of our company, and seeing them enjoy a huge sense of pride and ambition. It also makes a significant difference to the success of the company."
Long term partners of the Youth Career Initiative, Marriott and other companies have proven that hotels can play an integral role in solving youth unemployment. One in eleven jobs are created by the hotel industry, which has enjoyed significant growth in key developing regions. Marriott has recognised their role in bridging the skills gap by providing on the job training to young people and investing in their futures.
The model has also proved itself beneficial to businesses and the company as a whole. The group has real, long-term job opportunities to offer alongside internships and development courses so they aim to put young people into meaningful, long-lasting employment within the organisation. Doing so creates a highly trained and motivated workforce and excellent brand loyalty.
With diversity of operations and the flexibility to move staff between departments, hotels are uniquely placed to offer the opportunities young people need, and which suit their personalities and talents. The YCI programme sees students rotate around 15 areas of the hotel including front of house, back of house, technology, catering, food and beverage, and marketing. All the hotel and the YCI programme requires is a "can-do" attitude on the part of the candidate, and a willingness to commit to an exciting, constantly changing business.
In a recent interview with Green Hotelier, Hemma Varma, senior manager of social responsibility Europe for Marriott International said, “With the launch of our 2020 World of Opportunity Europe vision, we have increased our focus on combatting youth unemployment. I foresee similar efforts evolving in other regions where Marriott has a presence in order to increase our impact on the issue on a global scale. We are already involved with a number of charitable partners around the globe, for example our active Youth Career Initiative programmes in South America, the Middle East, and India.”