One evening this week I had the enormous pleasure of meeting and speaking with students at The Edge Hotel School near Colchester. It is a unique enterprise which operates as part of the University of Essex and has the advantage of being incorporated into a real working hotel, Wivenhoe House, so students can gain proper hands-on experience in all departments alongside their academic training.
All this means that after two years (yes, they cram a three year course into 24 intensive months) these budding general managers are industry-ready as soon as they graduate. The hotel’s GM, Oliver Brown, prefers to use a culinary term and describes them as “oven ready” – I think we know what he means.
The group of young men and women that I met were keenly interested in all aspects of the trade and several had already set their sights on a specialism, such as marketing or event management, though the course is ideal preparation for a life in general hotel management. According to its Principal, Andrew Boer, almost 100% of graduates over the school’s first 5 years have gone straight into hospitality jobs and yet, amazingly, they have vacancies on upcoming courses waiting to be filled.
My personal feeling is that before signing up to some other degree course with only a flimsy chance of it leading to an actual job, school leavers should be encouraged to consider the hotel industry with it’s endless opportunities for rapid promotion and world travel. And I really couldn’t imagine a better place to start than The Edge.
Find out more here: www.edgehotelschool.ac.uk/EHS100