Eastleigh’s Holiday Inn was the subject of a ‘takeover’ this weekend – by students!
Almost 70 catering and hospitality students from Eastleigh College took over the running of a hotel for 26 hours this weekend.
Every job at the three star hotel on Passfield Avenue had been shadowed by a student who took on roles in all areas including the bar, kitchen and reception.
The service industry is an important part of the local economy and in addition to providing vocational course for more traditional trades like plumbing and gasfitting, Eastleigh College is a leading local provider of skills training in catering, travel, hairdressing and hospitality.
The college – recently rated as ‘outstanding’ by ofsted – prides itself on it’s strong links with local businesses and the Holiday Inn was keen to help students gain valuable ‘hands on’ experience of applying for a job as well as working in a hotel.
General manager Alastair Lawson explained how prior to assuming their responsibilities the students had all been put through a selection and recruitment process just like any applicant and had to write a CV and attend an interview.
“It’s absolutely imperative that people like us do that.
“Students can benefit from the whole process they have gone thorugh in order to end up managing our hotel today.”
College lecturer Sue Lyons said:
“Our job as college lectures is o make sure students are ‘employer ready’ so experience of working with businesses like this is really important.
We do send students on work experience for two weeks as part of their course but this is an added extra we have done this year – we’ve never done it before.”
Sue Lyons also said that the college has no problems in finding work placements and two of its students will be going to London to gain experience at the Savoy and Claridges.
Lyons added that hospitality industry is not just confined to restaurants and hotels – Eastleigh students can also get experience of working in for event management companies or holiday resorts like Butlins and Centre Parcs.
“It’ a great industry to get into” she said.
Hospitality student Josh Sargeant who was manning the hotel reception desk told Eastleigh News why he had preferred to take a vocational course rather than an academic one.
“This is much better because you have a set goal in life and a good idea of what you can achieve and the college helps you plan it out”
The Student also said he was “really enjoying” working at the hotel and his rated his experience on the course at Eastleigh as ‘ten out of ten.”