The Prime Minister has voiced his support for the new £30m hospitality training academy which is due to open in Oldham, Greater Manchester, in 2015.
In a letter to Stephen Miles, the founder of the Hotel Future, which was officially launched last night in Westminster, David Cameron said that the project will be a boost for the tourism sector, increase employment and help strengthen the quality of the hospitality industry.
"This will help us in our ongoing strategy to enable the tourism industry achieve its potential for sustained growth, and to improve staff and management training," he wrote.
"Furthering tourism is a priority for the Government, and it is at the forefront of our growth agenda. We remain committed to ensuring that the tourism industry is a key driver of economic growth, and that the sector benefits from the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Located in a new civic square in Oldham, adjacent to the refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall conference and meeting centre, Hotel Future will be a 120-bedroom luxury hotel with a health club, spa and destination restaurant, which will double as a training centre.
It is the first of what is hoped will be a chain of hotels across the UK offering "learning by doing". Miles, who is the general manager of the Radisson Blu Edwardian in Manchester and chairman of the Manchester and North West Hoteliers Association, told the gathering of leading members of the hospitality industry and government that two local authorities beyond Oldham have already shown an interest in the concept.
"The attraction and retention of talent is central to the premise of Hotel Future and will revolutionise vocational training within the industry," explained Miles.
Students in the hotel will study, whilst working at the hotel, for a range of qualifications from apprenticeships and BTEC to university degrees. Once open, 100 apprentices will be taken on each year, alongside learners on block and day release programmes as well as those studying on full-time courses.
Hotel Future is being funded by private equity and is supported by the education charity, the Edge Foundation, and Oldham Council, with backing from Hilton Worldwide, Carlson Rezidor, Radisson Blue Edwardian Group and Marriott.
By Janet Harmer
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