Holiday Inn hotels join UK work experience event

Three Holiday Inn hotels and Norwich International Airport are being taken over this week by more than 100 students from City College Norwich as part of the week-long Hotel & Airport Takeover event - #hoteltakeover.

The students have taken on roles ranging from hotel general manager, receptionist and chef; to maître d’, health club assistant and airport check-in desk.

Taking place until February 13th, Hotel & Airport Takeover is one of the most ambitious student work experience events in the UK.

Last week will be the biggest yet and will involve three Holiday Inn hotels, part of one of the world’s leading hotel companies, InterContinental Hotels Group.

Established by City College Norwich’s hotel school in 1998, the Hotel Takeover is being run in partnership with the IHG Academy programme - joining over 600 programmes that give local people a chance to learn the skills they need to find work and the opportunity to get a job in the hospitality industry.

The involvement of Norwich’s three Holiday Inn hotels - Holiday Inn Norwich North near Norwich Airport; Holiday Inn Norwich City on Carrow Road and Holiday Inn Norwich on Ipswich Road - will give students even more opportunities to experience roles in hospitality and tourism management.

Each hotel will have its own student General Manager for the week and other management roles also being undertaken by students.

This year’s three student general managers are all Hospitality Diploma level 3 students at City College Norwich: Jasmine Mason, 16, from Horsham St. Faith; Esther Holden, 17, from Langmere; and Adam King, 18, from Norwich.  The students were appointed to the GM roles after coming through an intensive interview process, during which existing managers from the Holiday Inn brand and City College Norwich tested their suitability for the role.

Mason, who will be student general manager for the Holiday Inn Norwich North said: “I was really pleased when I found out that I got one of the student General Manager positions.

“The interview process was quite nerve wracking. I was a little scared to begin with but I felt more confident once I started talking to the panel. I’m really excited about the takeover.

“I would like to be general manager of a hotel in the future, so I am particularly looking forward to experiencing the job first hand to see if it is right for me.”

Since the first hotel takeover in 1998, the number of students involved has grown each year, extending to include not only hospitality and catering students, but also those on sports, personal fitness training, and travel and tourism courses. 

At its heart, the annual takeover remains about working with employers to give students a unique opportunity to experience what it is like to work in hospitality first hand. 

Bill Heath, general manager, Holiday Inn Norwich North said: “We are delighted at Holiday Inn to continue to grow this amazing event that has been taking place since 1998 and is now also an IHG Academy programme.

“It is more important than ever that we support students and, wherever possible, give them real life experiences of working in our industry and any other business for that matter.

“I would personally like to thank Andrew Bell chief executive and the airport team for taking part again in this joint venture and Inspired Youth for their continued support and involvement.”