Premier Inn has opened a three-bedroom training hotel in Coventry to help support young people with additional needs into work.
It is a partnership project with Coventry's Hereward College, a national further educational facility specialising in skills training for independent living and employment for young people with disabilities and additional needs.
The mini hotel, which will not take paying guests, will train young people in hospitality skills. Built by Novus Property Solutions, which has refurbished hundreds of Premier Inn hotels across the country, it is an exact replica of a Premier Inn and also features a reception desk, corridor and linen room.
Students taking part in the programme will also have the opportunity to undertake supported internships and the ambition is for them to go on to paid employment with Premier Inn.
The venture follows on from a partnership between Premier Inn and Derwen College, a residential educational facility for young people with learning difficulties based in Shropshire. Almost half of the students who have trained at Derwen have gone on to be employed by Premier Inn since the partnership launched back in 2013.
Simon Ewins, Premier Inn managing director, said: "We welcome people from all walks of life, and from every corner of the world. It is only right our workforce reflects this. Diversity is at the core of our people plan and we continue our focus on becoming the most inclusive hospitality business. We recognise that a diverse and inclusive culture brings significant business benefits and ultimately leads to better business performance."
Paul Cook, principal at Hereward College said: "The new training facility will mean that students will be able to gain work experience, learn specific job roles and gain confidence before stepping into the workplace."
Alan Nixon, chief executive at Novus Property Solutions, added: "The facility here at Hereward College will provide a fantastic opportunity for people living with disabilities and additional needs to gain real skills to support their futures."