Around 100 travel and tourism students are set to take over the Holiday Inn Norwich North hotel this week, in what has been claimed as the biggest such training event in the UK.
From 24 to 28 February, around 100 students from City College Norwich will take over roles at the four-star hotel, and 12 tourism students will take over jobs at Norwich International Airport, as part of a week-long training exercise to celebrate 100 years of hospitality and catering at the college.
During the week, the hotel will cater for two major functions, for around 300 guests each, including the college's hospitality centenary gala dinner and The British Hospitality Association's Big Hospitality Conversation, which is helping foster links between industry employers and prospective apprentices.
General manager Bill Heath will let students take on roles in reception, housekeeping, bar management, food preparation, food service and management. He said: "The experience the students gain from this initiative is invaluable in their understanding of the hotel industry. Nothing beats real, hands-on, work experience and because they're
here for a week they'll get to see all aspects of how a busy hotel and conference hotel operates from one day to the next."
At the airport, roles will include those at the airport's travel agency, in customer service, on the information desks, at check-in and at boarding gates.
The annual week-long event aims to give students a taste of what it is like to work in the hospitality and tourism industries, and has increased in size every year since it first launched in 1998.
Corrienne Peasgood, principal of City College Norwich, said: "The hotel and airport takeover is one of the best examples of how employers and colleges can work together to develop real learning experiences for students. We are very proud of our partnerships with employers, which help support the development of the future workforce."
City College Norwich began giving training courses in hospitality in 1913, after the Technical Institute formally absorbed the Norfolk and Norwich School of Cookery for the first time.
Famous alumni include Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens; Morston Hall's Richard Bainbridge and Strattons Hotel's Julia Hetherton.