The opening of De Vere’s first Academy of Hospitality in London at Devonport House in Greenwich has opened. This continues the company’s mission to train 10,000 young people, aged 16-24, over the next three years who have the desire, potential and drive to work in hospitality.
Great British hospitality is at the heart of De Vere Group - the UK’s leading independent hospitality group comprising De Vere hotels, De Vere Venues and De Vere Villages – and this means providing excellence in everything the business offers its customers – from great service to brilliant food. The Academy recognises and encourages the potential of young people; by training “the future stars of hospitality”, it is able to change the lives of young people through academic qualification and practical work experience in a safe and encouraging environment that in turn, provides a valuable workforce that is acknowledged by all within the industry.
Supported nationally by the National Apprenticeship Service, the Greenwich Academy of Hospitality is working in partnership with Greenwich Council, The Green Kitchen and Charlton Athletic FC in realising today’s launch. Each year 400 young people “Not in Education, Employment or Training” (“NEETs”) from Greenwich will be trained to acquire the technical, practical skills and qualifications to enable them to find employment for a successful career. It is the fifth Academy to be opened since last year and apprentices will study for Level Two apprenticeships in either Professional Cookery or Customer Service.
Richard Balfour-Lynn, Chief Executive of De Vere Group and Patron of the Academy said: “As London, and in particular Greenwich, prepares for one of the biggest hospitality events in the world in 2012, it is perhaps particularly opportune that we are opening here today. We recognized the shortage of well trained, experienced individuals entering our business and therefore, through the Academy of Hospitality, our mission was simple: to create the right environment and training programme that would kick-start the career of many young people and give them all the tools they need to be outstanding in what they do.”
“Greenwich Council is delighted the borough is the location for London’s first De Vere Academy of Hospitality. Catering and hospitality are key sectors here in Greenwich” says Councillor Denise Hyland, Cabinet member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills, Greenwich Council. “We lead a number of initiatives to equip local people with skills and training to help them into work. We welcome the opportunity to work closely with De Vere, not
least because we share the common goal that skills and training programmes should truly open doors for participants. Greenwich Local Labour and Business, an agency supported by us to help local people access training and jobs, and are working closely with De Vere to recruit local young apprentices to the Academy and we look forward to seeing them graduate with a bright future at an exciting time for this sector in Greenwich.”
Commenting on the launch, Kellie Rixon, Managing Director of the Academy of Hospitality said: “We are committed to encouraging and inspiring talented hospitality stars of the future through the provision of work-based learning. In many cases it is just about giving them the opportunity and the hope. Regardless of academic achievement, social background or even challenging behavior, everyone who joins us can succeed. We want to encourage them to flourish and grow as individuals and prospective employees in the sector.”
The Academy already operates in Stockport, Crewe, Milton Keynes and Liverpool, and there are plans for a second London base and a further roll-out in Brighton, Leeds and Glasgow later this year.