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Students bring skills to one of county’s finest hotels

Posted onPosted on 22nd Apr

An historic hotel welcomed a new workforce this spring as students from West Nottinghamshire College took over the kitchens, bars, restaurants, and spa for a week.

The ‘takeover’ was part of an annual project for students to gain real-life work experience at the Grade 1 listed Thoresby Hall Hotel and Spa.

More than 35 catering, hospitality, beauty therapy, and construction students from the college immersed themselves in a variety of roles, coached by the hotel’s team of supervisors and team leaders in the different departments within the 221-bedroom hotel.

Working on a realistic shift basis, students gained valuable, practical experience of working within a large, fully-operational hotel to complement their college-based training.

The students, who are on a range of courses such as the Advanced Diploma in Professional Cookery, the Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership, and the

Intermediate Diploma in Food and Beverage Service, took up positions as chefs, front-of-house staff, grounds and maintenance operatives, and more to provide them with additional skills in the industry, as well as inspiration for future career choices.

Students Ellie Gregory (above) and Isobel Stones from the Level 3 Beauty Therapy programme spent time working alongside guests in the spa and pool, while joinery students Choi Wong and Michael Commins-Nash shadowed maintenance team members, undertaking tasks such as changing locks, repairing damaged doors and cupboards, and maintaining light fittings and appliances.

Isobel said: “We’ve enjoyed working on manicures and pedicures and we’ve been able to watch some facials being performed. We’ve also helped with updating the product stock levels and a little bit of reception work while learning all about the hotel.”

Level 2 hospitality student Chloe Wright took on a dual role throughout the week, working both on the hotel’s grounds and gardens as well as in the bar on food and drinks service.

“It was a bit scary at first, but I soon got used to it and it was brilliant to be able to experience two very different areas of the hotel,” she said.

Chloe served a regular guest, Andrew Smith, who added: “It’s great that these students get this chance to work in this way. We come to the hotel every year, so I’ve seen young people from the same college, and they are really impressive in their work and their mannerisms.”

Level 2 Hospitality Supervision and Leadership student Kieran Sime spent his week working on the reception desk. “I particularly liked solving problems for the guests as that gave me job satisfaction,” he said. “On my first day here, I actually did a double shift. I worked so well in the morning so I asked if I could stay on to do the evening shift, which meant I worked from 8am until 8pm — it was great.”

Budding chefs Angel Castledine and Seven Mitchell worked with different foods in the Sherwood Restaurant and kitchens, where they experienced what it’s like to produce bulk orders.

Seven said: “There are a lot more customers coming through just this one restaurant than the college restaurant (Refined), so there are many covers to cook for, and the machinery is a lot bigger than in the college’s kitchens.”

The head of health, education and service industries at the college, Helen Wilcockson, added: “Yet another successful ‘takeover’ at the hotel has given both me and the tutors immense pride.

“We’ve seen students who came here last year for experience simply throw themselves confidently back into roles that they enjoyed previously, as well as newcomers who have grown in confidence in just a few short days.

“You can’t underestimate the benefits of enabling our students to experience working in an environment such as this. It’s a real privilege and we’re grateful to staff at Thoresby for continuing to provide this valuable yearly project.”

Thoresby Hall Hotel general manager Claire Fletcher said: “We’re delighted to welcome the students from West Nottinghamshire College back to Thoresby Hall Hotel again this year. Providing hands-on work experience in a real hotel environment is invaluable for their education and career development.

“It’s been a pleasure having them take on roles across all departments of the hotel. They’ve shown great enthusiasm, professionalism, and a willingness to learn from our experienced team members. Initiatives like this help develop the next generation of hospitality talent. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the college in the years ahead.”