PPHE Hotel Group launches Apprenticeship Academy to meet increasing demand for skilled workers in the hospitality industry

  • PPHE Hotel Group is looking for up to 40 new apprentices to join the hospitality group in 2018 
  • Range of activities launched during National Apprenticeship Week 5-9 March 2018 

PPHE Hotel Group, which owns, leases, develops, operates and franchises contemporary and lifestyle hotels in major gateway cities and resort destinations through the Park Plaza Hotels® & Resorts and art’otel brands, is pleased to announce the launch of its Apprenticeship Academy programme. The programme forms part of the Group’s ongoing commitment to be an employer of choice within the hospitality sector and is designed to meet the growing need for specialised workers across the industry. 

With the UK a key focus for the Group’s hospitality estate, which sits predominantly in Europe, the creation of the Apprenticeship Academy - designed in partnership with elite hospitality apprenticeship provider Umbrella Training - underpins the company’s vision of realising its growth potential. The launch comes on the heels of the British Hospitality Association’s announcement in January that Britain is facing a shortage of more than 60,000 skilled workers per year in the hospitality industry.

PPHE Hotel Group, which has eight hotels within the UK, identified opportunities for current team members and prospective new talent to further advance their professional development through this new, innovative Apprenticeship Academy scheme focusing on four key areas agreed in collaboration with Umbrella Training: Security, Chefs, Maintenance and Finance. Visit England reports that Chefs make up a fifth (21%) of all skill shortage vacancies for skilled trades in England – a key area that PPHE Hotel Group’s Academy programme has been designed to address through the Park Plaza Chef Academy programme.


To support the promotion of the Apprenticeship Academy, PPHE Hotel Group has committed to a programme of activity during National Apprenticeship Week from 5-9 March 2018. This includes visiting schools in South East England and London in partnership with a collection of Umbrella Training’s employer partners. The teams will meet with school children and promote the benefits to them of joining an apprenticeship scheme as the gateway to a rewarding career path. Apprenticeship awareness lunches will also be held to educate managers and inspire team members, to make them aware of the benefits to employers of engaging with apprenticeship schemes This is backed up by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Apprenticeships 2020 vision report (published in 2015), showing 70% of employers surveyed reporting improved service quality as a result of employing an apprentice*. Finally a seminar will be held at the London Job Show which will also see the launch of apprenticeship taster sessions giving real insight into the Academy programme. 

Commenting on the announcement, Jaklien Van Sterkenburg, Executive Vice President People & Culture | Head of HR, PPHE Hotel Group said: “Our upcoming development pipeline includes two new art’otels in London meaning that we will have a strong focus on attracting new, and identify existing talent within the business. The Apprenticeship Academy further enhances PPHE Hotel Group’s existing range of development programmes that proactively encourage team members from all levels of the business to gain the required skills, knowledge and behaviours to succeed within the hospitality sector. With this new Apprenticeship Academy, the Group’s aim is to address the skills shortage within the industry, proactively engage team members and help them achieve their growth potential, supporting career progression. 

“We want to offer the best apprenticeship opportunities to grow and develop our talent and provide the skills and qualities that the Group and industry requires”. 

Adele Oxberry, Managing Director, Umbrella Training added: “Working with PPHE Hotel Group on the launch of this new academy has been a real pleasure. As a business, they are wholeheartedly committed to apprenticeships across their hotels and have a strong desire to offer something a little different. With our industry requiring 993,000 people by 2022, apprenticeships provide a very real opportunity to close the skills gaps our sector faces, while giving apprentices a career for life. We look forward to expanding our partnership over the coming months.” 

With its ongoing commitment to apprenticeships, PPHE Hotel Group plans to open applications for a new Front of House apprenticeship scheme in April 2018 and is set to roll out all apprenticeship programmes nationally from May 2018. Plaza Leeds and Park Plaza Nottingham will be the first two hotels in the portfolio to lead these programmes. 

The Group is working closely with The Prince’s Trust, Lambeth Working and Springboard to recruit for these apprenticeship roles.

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