Tourism and hospitality students at Plymouth University have been rewarded for their hard work during the inaugural University Hotel School Patrons Conference.
The event was designed to celebrate the achievements of students during the school’s first year, but also to mark the contribution of its patrons, all of them highly respected figures in the hospitality sector.
The University Hotel School was launched in February 2014, to give students the chance to benefit from existing and new industry partnerships and to gain enlightening experiences that will enhance their future employability.
It also established Plymouth as one of the leading national centres for hospitality education, building on its existing reputation for delivering first class academic courses in hospitality and cruise management.
Dr Philip Gibson, Academic Director of the University Hotel School, said:
“One of the key aspirations of the Hotel School has always been to give our students the skills and experience to make them ready for the real world. The patrons are an integral part of that, and over the past year they have been involved in a number of exciting projects, providing our students with opportunities to put their knowledge into practice. This conference was an opportunity for all to celebrate our first year, and to explore ways we can build on our successes as we look towards the future.”
The Patrons Conference included keynote addresses by University Hotel School patrons Peter Ducker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality, and David Dingle CBE, Chairman of Carnival UK. Students and guests also had the opportunity to take part in an interactive ‘Generation Game’ led by another patron Tony Potter, President of Braveagle.
The conference also featured the presentation of the first Patrons’ Prizes, with students across the school’s academic courses competing for experiential opportunities with some of the best known companies in the UK hospitality sector.
University Hotel School patron and Board of Governors Chairman James Brent, who is Chairman of the Plymouth-based Akkeron Group, officially opened the conference. He said:
“The University Hotel School is an exciting initiative and the patrons’ ongoing commitment demonstrates that we support its work to enhance hospitality education. It shows that we recognise the importance of attracting high calibre talent to the hospitality and cruise industries, and we are delighted to reward the efforts of the school’s students in this way. We are always looking for new ways to help the students achieve their potential, and will continue to whole-heartedly support the University Hotel School’s approach.”