Hotel School to teach homeless people the basics of hospitality | A London community collaboration
The Goring hotel has teamed up with a charity to launch a hotel school to teach homeless people the basics of hospitality and help them into full-time work. The Goring Hotel in London’s Belgravia, the five-red-AA-star, 69-bedroom hotel, already launched the Hotel School in 2017 in partnership with its neighbour, the Passage Homeless Resource Centre. They’re right next door to one another so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’ve finally joined forces to create Hotel School.
We have seen another initiative in the Netherlands in which an entrepreneur did start his own education project and with all the problems of finding great members for a hospitality team these initiatives are a source of inspiration to other hospitality entrepreneurs.
Hotel School for homeless
Launched in 2017, Hotel School inspires vulnerable and homeless people to take an interest in hospitality, teaching them the basics in a hands-on, interactive and unique way, and then manages their progression into full time work with close mentorship thereafter. Highly trained college teachers deliver the backbone of an innovative course created by leading education expert Geoff Booth. A who’s who collection of industry leaders, Michelin star chefs, award winning baristas and inspiring hospitality stars provide a series of masterclasses, Q & A’s, and engaging insights across the spectrum of hospitality.
Co-founder Jeremy Goring of The Goring Hotel: “Hotels and restaurants are packed with witty, entertaining, genuinely interesting people, so when we designed this program we called around to see who might put their hand up to come and volunteer. Everybody we called, whether Michelin star chef, Hipster Barista, Hotel Managing Director or Master cocktail mixologist, said yes without any hesitation. The support we’ve had has been amazing and proves how lucky we are to work in this great industry.”
The result of this dynamic approach, an engaging programme already yielding results that are unheard of in the sector. Currently on the average cohort of 12 students, 11 are completing the twelve-week programme with eight or nine finding sustained fulltime employment in partner businesses. People who haven’t worked in 30 years have found employment (and therefore housing) through the programme and lives are being changed.
Hotel School partners with most major homeless charities in London and beyond, such as St Mungo’s and Centrepoint, as well as with major hotels including The Ritz, Red Carnation and Park Plaza groups. The school also has a growing band (currently more than 50) of volunteer mentors, trainers, chefs and inspirational speakers. The most recent draft is Will Greenwood OBE, rugby world cup winner and Sky Sports presenter. Will is assisting with fitness matters because poor physical health is a common barrier for many of the students in entering the workforce.
The school is currently in a temporary site at the Passage homeless resource centre in Victoria. With each 12-man intake (three throughout the year) oversubscribed by 300%, they are seeking a new permanent home with a view to expanding the number of people they help from 45 to 200 per year and beyond.
Mick Clarke, Passage CEO and Hotel School co-founder says “The Passage is all about ending homelessness. The Passage gives homeless people the resources and opportunities to fulfill their abilities and to transform their lives. Hotel School gives homeless people the opportunity to access real employment in one of the most exciting and rewarding sectors to work in; we are proud to be a co-founder of it.”
Dutch initative: Ron Blaauw College
Last March the Ron Blaauw College started in Amsterdam. Ron Blaauw has several restaurants in Amsterdam and at his college he is going to train his own team members in collaboration with the reintegration office In2Work and the Dutch SVH (Stichting Vakbekwaamheid Horeca) which stands for the Foundation for professional competence in hotels, restaurants and cafés.