The Copthorne Hotel, Newcastle experienced a takeover on Friday 17 February – by over 25 Newcastle College hospitality and tourism students who were given exclusive access to assist in the running of the hotel.
The students, from the College’s hospitality and tourism section, were selected to take jobs in front-of-house, catering, hospitality and housekeeping. Key roles included room management, lunch preparation and service, reception duties and customer service operations.
The students also created and served a special afternoon tea for a range of local employers, as well as planning and organising a celebration dinner for college staff.
This is the third year in a row that General Manager, Ken Ellington has handed assistance in the day-to-day running of the hotel to students – and on a busy day when the hotel was fully operational.
The purpose of the project was to give the students unique inside knowledge of working within a busy city centre hotel, whilst giving them essential skills that will prepare them for the world of work. To get ‘the job’ the students had to complete a college induction as well as intensive training with the Copthorne Hotel, shadowing members of staff to learn the key aspects associated with each role.
One lucky student, Sarah Ferguson, 17, from Carlisle had the opportunity to shadow Copthorne General Manager, Ken Ellington. Sarah said: “It’s been a really good experience to see what actually happens behind the scenes of a hotel. I’ve learnt so much shadowing Ken, as I’ve been able to understand the structure of hotel management, an area that I want to go into in the future.
“He’s given me some really good tips on what it takes to manage a big hotel like this and I’m really grateful to have been given this opportunity.”
Hospitality student, Katie Lewis, 17, from South Shields said: “The Copthorne takeover has been an eye opening experience and it’s really helped us all understand what a job in the industry is like. Getting experience like this has built my confidence and should only help when it comes to finding a job after my course.”
Craig Cowan, Head of Hospitality and Tourism at the College said: “We work in close partnership with employers to ensure that our students have the training and skills that they need. We have a great relationship with the Copthorne and the fact that they are allowing our students to assist in the running of the hotel for the day is testament to the confidence that they have in their skills and ability. This really is an amazing opportunity to experience what it is like to work in the hotel industry and we are extremely grateful to Ken and his team for the huge support that they have given us.”
Ken Ellington, General Manager of the Copthorne Hotel said: “We enjoy a close and active relationship with Newcastle College, with an increasing number of our hotel team having joined us direct from the College. Today is a good experience for all concerned, giving us the chance to work with some of the industry stars of the future, and giving the students a fine opportunity”.