Building strong partnerships: How Whitbread work collaboratively with partners to create quality employment opportunities for young unemployed people

February 1 2016

Whitbread is the UK’s largest hospitality company, with over 2500 sites in the UK. Premier Inn, one of their flagship companies, has a very ambitious expansion plan and is currently opening one new hotel every 10 days, on average.

In order to create a diverse talent pipeline which attracts a high volume of young unemployed candidates, Premier Inn work in partnership with JobCentre Plus and People 1st, the sector skills council for hospitality, to run Sector Based Work Academies to coincide with the opening of new hotels.

These two week employability programmes offer young people the chance to complete an immersive work experience placement that contains a dedicated element of pre-employment training. The placement then leads to a guaranteed job interview and feedback at the end, giving unemployed people access to a tangible job opportunity.

All entry level jobs are also advertised with JobCentre Plus to make them accessible for young people, and recruitment is based on attitude, values and motivations rather than skills and experience.

In addition to this, Whitbread also work in partnership with the Prince’s Trust to run the ‘Get Into Hospitality’ course with Premier Inn and ‘Get Into Coffee’ course with Costa Coffee. These programmes provides young people with a two week long structured training course designed to give them exposure to several different aspects of the hospitality sector.

These programmes also includes a work placement at Premier Inn or Costa Coffee, ending with a guaranteed interview and feedback. The Prince’s Trust then provide dedicated follow on support for all participants.

As result of these partnerships, Whitbread are able to offer over 500 placements each year, each leading to a quality job opportunity.

Paul Flaum, Managing Director, Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants, comments; “Our industry relies on securing enthusiastic young people who provide an essential pipeline of future talent for our company. Young people can offer so much for a workplace and at Whitbread we have worked hard to develop an open and accessible apprenticeship programme. By providing regular updates on policy changes, best practice and opportunities to collaborate in this area the Future Proof campaign and online platform will be an important source of information for businesses on hiring young people in the future."