Some of the region’s most prominent hospitality businesses have forged a partnership with Moray College UHI to provide real-life experience for Hospitality students.
Students at the college’s Hospitality and Tourism Academy will be given the opportunity to undertake two three-month paid work placements at two of the seven restaurants who have signed up to the scheme.
And at the start of term, the students met with representatives from some of the businesses which include The Craigellachie Hotel, Johnstons of Elgin, The Macallan Visitor Experience, The Dowans Hotel, The Mosset Tavern, Christies of Fochabers and the Sun Dancer restaurant.
The aim of the partnership, which is being supported by Developing the Young Workforce Moray is to highlight to the students the vibrant and varied hospitality industry in Moray and also create a stronger bond between the businesses and the college to create a network to promote best practice to the rest of the industry in Moray.
The initiative was the idea of Alistair Fowlie, Deputy Head of Curriculum and the Hospitality Team at Moray College UHI. They were keen to get employers speaking to each other and to be more involved in the shaping of the curriculum.
He said: “This is an exciting initiative and one which is desperately needed in order to help secure the future of this hugely rewarding industry. The partnership provides a forum for communication between Moray College UHI and a select group of local hospitality employers. The aim is to promote favourable working conditions which help to attract the next generation to the industry and to facilitate relevant and beneficial training opportunities, mentoring and education in both the College and in the partner establishments. A focus of this new partnership has been to establish an agreed 'code on conduct', to which all involved will sign-up and adhere.”
Sarah Baxter, manager of DYW Moray which nurtures links between young people looking for work, and employers looking for dynamic, young workers said this was an important partnership.“We are thrilled to be part of this partnership bringing young hospitality stars of the future into workplaces where they will be provided with real life experience. For so many young people, they start a course at college and never set foot outside of a classroom until they have qualified. This joined up learning will allow the hospitality students to learn as they go and find out about the industry that they will eventually end up in.”
Alison Barnett, HR advisor for Edrington who own The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience said they were keen to get involved: “We are very keen to build links with the college and allow students to get access to a range of experiences within the industry. We are delighted to be working alongside the other partners and between us we all offer something different, but with the same end goal, to ensure that our visitors have a first-class experience. We need to be doing more to support the infrastructure and we need to do it in a strong way and this new initiative is the start of that.”
Lee Jack, owner of the Sun Dancer in Nairn added: “I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of chefs and people who want to work in hospitality and the only way I believe we can do that is to get in there and work with them directly. We want to show all young people that the hospitality sector in Scotland is growing and there are fantastic opportunities to be had on our doorstep. It’s an exciting time for the industry and we are very pleased to be working with Moray College UHI on this new initiative.”