The Big Hospitality Conversation Norwich to be hosted by ‘largest ever student takeover in the UK’

The British Hospitality Association, Springboard and Business in the Community’s nationwide Big Hospitality Conversation, set to take place in Norwich on Thursday 27th February 2014, will be hosted by over 100 hospitality and catering students from City College Norwich in what is believed to be the largest ever student take-over in the UK.

4 Bill Heath

During the week of 24th to 28th February the students will take over the 4-star Holiday Inn Norwich allowing General Manager Bill Heath and his team to take a step back, while they take on jobs, covering everything from reception, to housekeeping, bar management, food preparation, food service and supervisory management roles.    As well as managing the hotel, students will take over roles at Norwich International Airport as well as managing the Big Hospitality Conversation and the College’s hospitality centenary gala dinner.

Corrienne Peasgood, Principal, City College Norwich, said: “The successful annual takeover of the Holiday Inn Norwich North by our students, which this year has extended to include Norwich International Airport, shows what can be achieved in creating high quality work experience for young people.  Working with employers to create invaluable real world experiences like this is a key part of our commitment as a Gazelle College.  The Big Conversation offers a timely opportunity for hospitality businesses, young people and training providers to look at how we can do even more to support skills and employment in this important sector.”

Chloe Smith, Member of Parliament for Norwich North said:  "The takeover is fun, innovative and really gets results. It's also great for Norwich to host a record-breaking event! As leader of Norwich for Jobs I am 100% behind it. I look forward to meeting the students and seeing the look on customers' faces too as the takeover shines through.”

1 Bill Heath Emily Day

Part of a nationwide campaign, the event the event will bring together influential leaders from leading hospitality businesses in Norwich and invite them to meet local young people, stimulating dialogue and encouraging more quality work experience, apprenticeships and jobs in the UK for 16-24 year olds.  As well as generating work and opportunities in the local area, the Big Conversation enables the industry, through the BHA, to take a powerful message to government on hospitality’s significant contribution to economic recovery across the UK, tackling youth unemployment and stimulating growth.

Says BHA CEO Ufi Ibrahim:  “The Big Conversation is more than just a talking forum.  It leads to real opportunities, apprenticeships and work placements which in turn help to stimulate economic growth.  This is a powerful message for the hospitality industry to take to Government.”

In the past twelve months over 1,200 industry representatives have attended the Big Hospitality Conversation events, pledging the creation of 33,000 new job opportunities between now and 2015 (with more to come).

The Big Hospitality Conversation in Norwich is being held at 9am at the Holiday Inn Norwich North on Thursday 27th February 2014.

Quotes from the day

3 Chloe Smith

Bill Heath, General Manager, Holiday Inn Norwich North, commented: “The enthusiasm we have seen throughout the week by everyone involved in the “Takeover” has been amazing and any doubts anybody may have had about extending this event to a week have been well and truly blown away. The “Big Conversation” highlighted the difficulty young people have today in getting a foot on the ladder so I was delighted to hear the number of “Pledges” and ideas that were being made and offered to ensure that Norwich and Norfolk lead the way in getting young people onto a career path and into an industry that means so much to our county.”

Kirby Savage, 22, a former City College Norwich student who now works as a receptionist for Cunard Cruise Line, said:
“The Big Conversation has been absolutely fantastic. I think it has opened up so many doors for people and I think was a brilliant event to attend.”

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