Twenty Year 11 pupils from Sweyne Park School in Rayleigh had a short break from their GCSE revision just before Easter, when they visited the Edge Hotel School for a My Hospitality Life event.
The students, all of whom are planning to study A-level Business Studies in September, came to the Hotel School to find out more about the huge range of career opportunities the hospitality industry offers. Led by Maddie Eisenstadt, the students started with an introductory presentation about the scope of the sector. There were gasps of surprise when they heard about the salaries hotel manager can earn (up to £200k pa), the most expensive hotel room in the world (£64,000 per night for a hotel in Geneva), and the size of the largest tip ever given (£3m – a 50% share in a lottery ticket!). A world of exotic hotels, cosy cafes and summer festivals opened up before them – whether as employees or business owners. Over 60 per cent of the students said how surprised they were by the range of opportunities.
Having introduced the sector, the students were set a challenge – to turn around the fortunes of a failing hotel. Working in teams, the students took part in the Hotel Manager simulation game – designed and produced by staff at the Edge Hotel School. Within minutes the budding hoteliers were battling to save their hotel, quickly learning how their decisions on staff, room rates and menu design affected their bottom line. With Maddie feeding their decisions into the simulation programme, the teams were eager to see their progress tracked against their competitors. Each team were able to discuss their plans with Maddie and Jenny Kaye, an EHS lecturer, as well as Ms Dixon and Ms Banks from their school. After eight hectic rounds, the blue team emerged as narrow victors – with the season’s highest score to date.
The students settled down to enjoy lunch and were treated to a guest appearance from Andy Boer, Principal of the Edge Hotel School. Andy livened up the lunch break with a short talk on the importance of food sustainability, leaving the students to bravely sample the protein sources of the future – dried mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers!
To finish their experience, the students met Oliver Brown, General Manager of Wivenhoe House, the 4* home of the Edge Hotel School. Two current students, Michelle Chirwa-Goacher and Stefania Longu, took the visitors on a tour of the hotel visiting the brasserie, the guest suites and rooms.
Almost all of the students who had never thought about working in hospitality, said that they would now consider the range of careers available in the industry. Indeed a member of the victorious blue team had already phoned home to announce that she had decided her future lay in hotel management. Perhaps some of the Sweyne Park students will be enrolling at the Edge Hotel School soon.
To find out more about the Edge Hotel School visit http://www.edgehotelschool.ac.uk/