Disabled students offered careers at Premier Inn

  • Minister for Disabled People visits UK’s most inspirational hotel and calls on other employers to build inclusive workforce
  • Mini hotel provides hospitality training for students with a range of disabilities
  • Visit marks six-month anniversary of hotel opening

The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health Justin Tomlinson today (Friday, January 17) checked out the UK’s most inspirational hotel.

The Minister visited Coventry’s Hereward College, home to the UK’s smallest Premier Inn, which has just three bedrooms, to celebrate its’ six-month anniversary.

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Completely indistinguishable from a regular hotel, right down to ‘do not disturb’ signs on the doors and the tea and coffee making facilities Premier Inn guests are familiar with, it features three en-suite bedrooms, a reception desk, corridor and linen room.

Used by a wide cross-section of the college’s 270 students, the state-of-the-art mini-hotel is a training facility and helps young people to learn skills in the hospitality industry.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:

“With a record 4.2million disabled people in work, employers like Premier Inn are increasingly recognising the benefits having a diverse workforce brings.

“The Tiny Hotel’s unique, hands-on learning environment is preparing talented young people for exciting careers in the hospitality sector by equipping them with the skills businesses need, and it’s an inspiration to other employers.

“I want everyone to be able to reach their full potential. This Government is committed to supporting employers like the Premier Inn, through our schemes like Access to Work and Disability Confident to make the most of the talent and important contribution disabled people bring to a workplace.”

The tiny Premier Inn, as part of its Force For Good programme, is a partnership project with Coventry’s Hereward College, a national further educational facility specialising in skills training for independent living and employment for young people with disabilities and additional needs.

From guest relations to housekeeping, the facility enables young people to learn about all areas of hospitality in a completely realistic hotel environment.

Excitingly, young people taking part in the programme have the opportunity to undertake supported internships and the ambition is for them to go on to paid employment in Premier Inn hotels across the country.

The Minister met with college leaders and some of the young people benefiting from the Premier Inn scheme.

Elaine Newbold, Premier Inn Regional Operations Director said:

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate the six-month opening of our tiny Premier Inn. It’s absolutely wonderful to see so many young people already benefitting from the scheme and we’re excitedly following follow their progress from tiny hotel to Premier Inns across the country”.

Paul Cook, Principal at Hereward College said:

"The partnership with Premier Inn and the development of the training facility has been a huge opportunity for our students. Statistics show that only 6% of people with disabilities are currently in paid employment and by providing meaningful work experience and clear progression into the hospitality industry we are going someway to creating positive outcomes for our learners."

Alan Nixon, CEO at Novus Property Solutions, said:

“Delivering projects that have lasting impacts in the communities we operate in is at the heart of what we do. The success of this facility at Hereward College is testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff involved at Premier Inn, the college and here at Novus.

“To be recognised by the Minister for Disabled people is an incredible achievement for everyone involved and we’re looking forward to following the progress those living with disabilities make as a result of the project."

The tiny hotel at Hereward is the second Premier Inn of its type. The hotel company also has a three-bedroom training facility at Shropshire’s Derwen College, which also supports young people with additional needs.

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