The Holiday Inn Express hotel in Burnley, Lancashire was recently taken over for a day by local school students, to showcase the hospitality industry and highlight the importance of language proficiency in tourism.
In what is claimed to be the first project of its kind, students aged 13-16 from local school the Sir John Thursby Community College, were given the task of managing the 102-bedroom hotel, and hosting a business lunch for local business leaders and specially invited guests from across Europe.
The students were also required to use their French and German language skills, in an added twist to the day's tasks.
Activities included running reception, housekeeping and catering, helping with overseas travel arrangements, and negotiating room rates directly with InterContinental hotels in Marseille and Frankfurt.
In its second year, the scheme is intended to highlight the importance of foreign languages in communication, and give secondary school pupils a taste of work experience in the hospitality industry. Last year's inaugural event even led to two students being employed as part of the hotel's permanent part-time staff.
All students involved had to go through a formal job application and interview process, as well as competing to demonstrate their language and communication skills.
Kerian Barnes, Holiday Inn Express Burnley general manager, said: "Languages in the workplace are a very relevant and current topic in hospitality, travel and tourism. As a key service provider, the Holiday Inn Express is able to demonstrate the opportunities open to students with language proficiency today,"
David Burton, John Thursby Community College head teacher, said: "This partnership is helping students to gain experience in the world of work and many of them now work at the hotel. We are determined that every child gets the best opportunity in life to enjoy work or further education."