Three learners have so far joined the Bespoke Inns Hospitality Management Academy which is the latest stage in the College’s Employer Academy programme – designed to bridge the gap between education and the workplace.
Over the coming months, they will work at Bespoke Inns’ three premises: The Dragon in Willington, The Boot in Repton and Harpur’s in Melbourne which all have restaurants, bars and accommodation.
They will gain experience in the venues’ different departments – including housekeeping, front of house and cellar management and will take part in special projects and have expert lectures from key personnel at Bespoke Inns.
Bespoke Inns Director Heidi Hammond explained: “We have worked very successfully with the College Catering and Hospitality learners and apprentices from the Engine Shed restaurant in the past.
“With the College now offering Higher Education programmes in Hospitality Management, this has been a natural progression in our on-going relationship with Derby College.
“As we have a multi-faceted business, we are able to offer a wide range of work experience to the students.”
Mrs Hammond continued: “The Employer Academy model is an excellent way of working in depth with a group of students – showcasing the wide range of career opportunities available to them and, more importantly, the attitudes and behaviours that are required in the industry.
“People expect so much more from bars, restaurants and accommodation nowadays so the clear message that I reinforce both to our fantastic team of existing staff and to new starters is the importance of top notch customer service in everything that we do.
“A good customer experience is vitally important in all aspects of the business. We need to be giving customers the wow factor – whether they are walking into a bedroom for the first time, enjoying a meal with us or being served at the bar.
“It is also important that managers have experience in every aspect of the job that they are asking their staff to do.
“I hope that the work experience that they gain with us will hold them in good for the future – whether that is working for us or elsewhere in the industry both here and around the world.”
April Hayhurst, Derby College’s Deputy Principal, Employer and Economic Affairs, added: “A wide range of businesses engage with us through the Employment and Skills Boards and Employer Academies as they recognise that it is in their best interests to better prepare young people for the world of work.
“The Bespoke Inns Hospitality Management Academy is the first to involve students on our Higher Education programmes and this will greatly enhance their study programmes.”
The Dragon in Willington is a previous winner of the Derby Food and Drink Awards and Best Traditional Pub Award. The canal-side pub and restaurant was renovated and restored in 2011 and expanded in January 2014 with the addition of an additional 70-seater restaurant which is ideal for group bookings as well as a separate bar, courtyard for outdoor events and seven luxurious, boutique bedrooms in The Cottage annexe.
Harpur’s of Melbourne was recently awarded two rosettes for culinary excellence. The town centre bar and restaurant also has four accommodation rooms.
The Boot at Repton is the most recent addition to the Bespoke Inns portfolio. It won the AA Pub of the Year in 2016. The renovated 17th century coaching inn offers luxurious accommodation, award winning classic and contemporary dishes and real ales including Boot Beer – which is brewed in The Boot’s own micro-brewery.