From education to employment

The 5-Star hotel run entirely by students

Wivenhoe House in Colchester has become the new venue for a ground-breaking new ‘sandwich’ course, which is aimed at splitting students’ time between high-quality theoretical and practical education in the Hospitality Industry.

Known as the Edge Hotel School, the programme is sponsored by some of the biggest names in hospitality, including Laurent-Perrier and Hilton Worldwide. The course aims to “offer people the opportunity to become the future leaders of hospitality by working in a fully functioning hotel and learning from industry experts whilst gaining a degree qualification putting in place a much needed production line for home-grown talent”.

The programme comes as a huge boost to the tourism industry, with the promise of expansion into other hospitality sectors and leisure industries if the scheme is successful. Sandwich courses are popular with employers who often want a combination of disciplined learning and experience from prospective employees.

Sir Garry Hawkes CBE, president of independent education foundation Edge, described the venture as “one of the most exciting developments in hospitality education”, adding that he was “delighted by the overwhelming industry support”.

The Grade II listed building has recently seen a £10 million restoration project and boasts updated period designs, including a new garden wing, formal and informal dining suites, and conference facilities. Guests will be attended by student practitioners, who will supply “an intriguingly different experience, with the flair and attention to detail you would expect from the future leaders of the industry”, according to the course.

Steve Brandwood, sales director for Laurent Perrier, a key sponsor of the scheme, commented on the hotel’s bright future, saying: ‘We are delighted to be supporting the recruitment, education and development of the next generation of professional hotel staff, indeed the future of the hospitality industry.”

The course will run over 45 weeks, during which time students will be involved in fast-track Foundation and Bachelors’ degrees in Hotel Management and Culinary management, with an emphasis on ‘learning by doing’.

The principal of Edge Hotel School, Alan Jenkins, said: “The Edge Hotel School will offer people the opportunity to become the future leaders of hospitality by working in a fully functioning hotel and learning from industry experts whilst gaining a degree qualification putting in place a much needed production line for home-grown talent”.

Louise Macfadyen 

(Pictured: Edge Hotel School principal Alan Jenkins)

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