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By Steven Hesketh

By Steven Hesketh

The Hospitality Connect Schools Program: Inspiring the Next Generation

In the first of a regular blog, Steven Hesketh, The Hospitality Hero, explains why the hospitality sector needs to invest in the next generation.

“We mustn’t underestimate the value in actually getting involved with local schools, local colleges and local universities… these young people are our future.”

As well as being The Hospitality Hero, I am also the Chief Executive of Savvy Hotels running two hotels in Liverpool and The Townhouse in Chester, I’m a local investor, Vice-Chair of Liverpool Hospitality Association, a Committee Member for UK Hospitality (Northern Region) and the Chair of the Chester Hospitality Association. And, in my role as the Executive Board Chair of the Chester Hospitality Association, I have been delighted to see the impact the Hospitality Connect Schools Program, in collaboration with Chester Hospitality Association, has been having in the city – inspiring the next generation.

This partnership programme sees schools across the city being paired with an associated hotel. The Pledge Partnership puts employers at the heart of informing and inspiring young people about careers and progression by connecting businesses with educators, promoting industry sectors and developing longstanding relationships with schools to build a talent pipeline.

A key focus of this programme is on raising students’ aspirations through harnessing the skills and expertise from within the hospitality industry, to provide core personal development opportunities for all students.

Over the academic year, the programme of events has encompassed work experience in hotels across the city, catering masterclasses, careers workshops and the development of transferrable skills to name but a few…

At my own hotel, The Chester Townhouse, we were thrilled to welcome Maple Grove School to our venue and last week, students visited us and we had an exceptional day of learning, where we all gained valuable insights and experiences.

Personally, I started my career in the hospitality industry at the age of 15, when I got my first job in a resort, via my auntie, where I was cleaning windows in large holiday apartments.

I am so passionate about investing in the next generation.

At The Chester Townhouse, we have also created our own in-house hotel traineeship, we take in eight students at a time and show them the process of each department where they learn the ins and outs of; serving a cup of tea, answering the telephone at reception, how to operate in a kitchen… etc… And, at the end of that, out of those eight students, we’ve even taken some of them on as employees, because they enjoyed themselves and learned so much through the process.

And, I have a number of other exciting education and training incentives up my sleeve, for young people, which will be announced very soon!

As Hospitality Leaders, I believe that it is crucially important to think about future generations. We mustn’t underestimate the value in actually getting involved with local schools, local colleges and local universities… these young people are our future. They’re our future employees, and they’re potentially our future customers.

So, it’s important to get out there and network with them.

To find out more about what I do and join with other Hospitality Heroes from across the world, I’d love you to join our free online community – https://www.facebook.com/groups/thehospitalityheroeshub

Downtown in Business