By Denis Sheehan, Publisher, H&C News: Fairmont St Andrews expands apprenticeship program with Dundee University.
Fairmont St Andrews, part of Accor UK, has expanded its Junior Hotelier Apprenticeship program by offering graduates the opportunity to complete a business degree in partnership with Dundee University, alongside six-month rotations in different departments across the luxury hotel.
The apprentices attend university once a week as part of the scheme, with successful graduates receiving their Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) along with a BSc (Hons) in Business Management upon completion of the program. The unique Junior Hotelier Apprenticeship develops young talent in the hospitality industry by offering six-month rotations in different departments throughout the luxury hotel, providing apprentices with practical experience in the sector whilst earning a national living wage.
Fairmont St Andrews is the only hotel in Scotland to offer such a wide-ranging hospitality qualification scheme.
The program currently has 21 apprentices at different stages of the four-year program. The latest intake of six young talents have completed their first semester in four departments under the mentorship of John Keating, General Manager of Fairmont St Andrews and founder of the Junior Hotelier Apprenticeship.
John Keating, General Manager at Fairmont St Andrews, said: “One of the biggest challenges we are facing now in the industry is maintaining the talent pool for hospitality and keeping the drive for young leaders. Future proofing the industry with educational opportunities is paramount. As we welcome our new undergraduates to the program, I look forward to sharing the passion, vision and expertise of my team with the next generation of hospitality leaders. Ours is an incredibly special industry that has been hard hit in the last two years and I am proud and honoured that so many young talents are committing to the sector and to its future.
“Since 2015, I have worked alongside the Scottish government to develop a three-year hospitality apprenticeship scheme, a four-year hospitality graduate apprenticeship and now working to pilot a Foundation Apprentice in Hospitality to reach youngsters at High School level within three schools in Fife. It is an enormous achievement and I am thankful for the support of government bodies and especially to my team, colleagues and apprentices at Fairmont St Andrews. This apprenticeship programme demonstrates our commitment to build a young workforce and invest in the local community and the future of luxury hospitality.”
Marc Dardenne, COO Luxury Europe at Accor said: “The unique and impressive Junior Hotelier Apprenticeship Program created by John Keating has been instrumental in combatting misconceptions surrounding hospitality as a low-skilled job. By offering young people an opportunity to gain recognised qualifications whilst earning a national living wage and working at one of Scotland’s leading 5* resorts, emerging talents are empowered with a holistic learning experience which accelerates their entry to the industry. The Junior Hotelier Program reaffirms our commitment to building the talent of the future and nurturing growth and opportunities in the sector which is, today, ripe with opportunity as travel returns once more.”
The apprenticeship program teaches transferable skills and involves mentoring from senior members of staff, including the Executive Team, and development of apprentices will be tracked via quarterly meetings.
Apprentices in the program gain experience in departments including the kitchen, housekeeping, food & beverage venues and front desk, in addition to golf management, green keeping, spa and business administration (finance, human resources, sales, marketing and events).