Teens given free rein of Holiday Inn

Students at Holiday Inn Burnley

Students at Holiday Inn Burnley

An award winning hotel turned itself over to a local school to allow students the opportunity to run it for the day.

The Holiday Inn Express Burnley, part of Starboard Hotels a group which is franchise partners for IHG and Wyndham, allowed 16 candidates aged 14 and 15 to take over the running of the hotel in a bid to improve employment capability skills, through hands-on work in the hospitality industry.

Their hope was to inspire the next generation of hoteliers, chefs, housekeepers, accountants, marketers and front-of-house staff.

Students from the Sir John Thursby school put in a full working day between 8am and 4pm and were given decision making powers for the day.

Under the guidance and support of the experienced hotel team, students were allocated roles across the front desk, housekeeping, marketing, accounts and revenue, whilst in the food and beverage team students had the chance to prepare and host a breakfast and lunch service.

Kerian Barnes, Starboard Hotels’ Regional General Manager said, “Young people are the future of hospitality, so we wanted these students to gain an understanding that running a hotel involves much more than just a career front-of-house. Unemployment between 16-24 year olds is extremely high and the hospitality sector offers a variety of options across the skills base.

“There is a variety of work that goes on behind the scenes and we hope the experience day will encourage students who may not have planned for a career in hospitality to see that there is so much more variety.  Other careers are crucial to the daily running of a hotel, such as accounts and marketing, so we hope students have broadened their career interests as a result. We also hope that the day allowed students to link their current studies with their future.”

Prior to the event the participants took part in an interview process to familiarise them with the formal process applied to recruitment at the hotel. They were then trained and prepared for the work experience day.

The day was part of Business in the Community’s Business Class programme which aims to create long term partnerships between schools and local businesses. The programme is similar to the Youth Career Initiative operated by International Tourism Partnership in hotels around the world, giving disadvantaged young people the opportunity to gather skills and experience in the hospitality industry.

Barnes, who is also the hotel’s general manager, added, “Starboard Hotels understands the importance of training, work experience and apprenticeships to young people. We hope that this programme will influence and educate young people of the possibilities available when working in hospitality, particularly at this vital stage in their education.”

The partnership between Holiday Inn Express Burnley and Sir John Thursby School will hopefully enable students leaving school in 2014 to apply for permanent vacancies and apprenticeship opportunities with the hotel.


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