Whitbread is the UK’s largest hospitality company serving more than 22 million customers every month. Investing in skills is very much part of Whitbread's CSR and broader business model. As part of this strategy, the company has been working with The Prince’s Trust since 2010.
To date, the joint 'Get Into Hospitality'programme has equipped almost 200 unemployed young people with the skills and confidence needed to find work within the hospitality industry – one of the strongest sectors to have defied the recession by having more jobs available now compared to a year ago (according to the British Hospitality Association).
The four-week programme gives young people the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working across Whitbread’s portfolio of coffee shops, restaurants and hotels, as well as classroom training in work readiness skills. Three in four of these young people have gone on to secure employment with Whitbread and all have been offered ongoing mentoring support from The Prince's Trust.
Whitbread is acutely aware of the impact a skills shortages would have upon the hospitality industry. Through its partnership with the Prince’s Trust, which is part of its broader WISE (Whitbread Investing in Skills & Employment) programme, Whitbread is helping to tackle youth unemployment, as well as up-skill its next generation of workers. This year, Whitbread will double the number of Prince’s Trust 'Get Into Hospitality'programmes it delivers across the UK from four to eight.
Sandra Kelly, Education Manager of The WISE Programme, says, “by partnering with the Prince’s Trust we have been able to make a real difference to the work confidence of young people whilst giving our team members the opportunity to develop their mentoring skills.
The young participants who have gained experience in Premier Inn have gained invaluable work experience, as well as having the opportunity to gain nationally recognised food safety and health & safety qualifications.
Green Hotelier was lucky enough to speak to one of the Get Into Hospitality participants about their experience.
As an unemployed 24 year old, Cherelle heard about 'Get Into' Hospitality from her local Jobcentre. She secured a place on the scheme and was assigned to Premier Inn, Canalside in Birmingham.
Her first week was classroom based, where she learnt about customer service and undertook team activities. For her placement weeks, she covered all areas of working in a Premier Inn, interacting with customers and learning from colleagues.
During the placement, Cherelle interviewed for a permanent position, which she was successfully awarded, with her now working on food and beverage in the same hotel. She has also become a Young Ambassador for the Prince's Trust, as part of which she's helped to inspire prospective candidates for the programme and attended job employment events.
Speaking about her experiences, Cherelle has said she feels privileged and blessed to have been given the opportunities she has had and is looking forward to what is in store for her in the future as a Whitbread employee.