Hospitality and catering students from MK College took over the management of Holiday Inn Milton Keynes East, managed by Kew Green Hotels, this week. The students were responsible for running the entire hotel from front of house and catering to housekeeping and room service.
Maria Bowness, Head of School for Hospitality and Events, said, “The takeover is a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain real-life experience of working in a hotel, and to develop the skills and confidence that will help them secure future employment.”
All 26 students were shadowed by Holiday Inn team members from Monday to Friday and had the opportunity to gain practical skills to complement their existing knowledge. Prior to the takeover, students interested in senior roles including General Manager, Operations Manager and Head Chef, had to apply and undergo a competitive interview process with hotel management to secure a position.
Kenny Bruce Russell, General Manager at Holiday Inn Milton Keynes East said, “The takeover initiative is designed to expose the students to the whole employment process; submitting an application, attending an interview and induction. The week-long takeover exposes the students to the challenges and rewards of working in a hotel. It’s always a pleasure working with MK College, the students exceeded our expectations and we were very impressed by their professionalism.”
Events and Hospitality student Megan Rogers, secured the role of Operations Manager and found the experience really valuable, she said, “It was really interesting to learn what goes on behind the scenes – I discovered that there’s much more involved in running a hotel than you would expect! There was a lot of responsibility with the role and it was challenging. Each morning started with a brief from the actual General Manager and then the student GM and myself were then in charge of the team to make sure that everything ran smoothly for the rest of the day. The whole experience has definitely helped me to improve my organisational, team leading and customer service skills, and has made me more focused about my future career”.
On Thursday evening it was all hands on deck as the students delivered their own Gala Dinner for approximately 100 guests in aid of SANDS, a charity supporting those affected by the loss of a baby, and Greenfingers, a charity that creates gardens for children in hospices. The students have been planning the event at College for some weeks; including the theme and design, menu and entertainment. Guests were treated to a five course meal prepared and served by MK College hospitality students, and live music and entertainment by its performing arts students. The event raised over £1,300.
This is the 20th year Kew Green Hotels have run student takeovers, starting with just a one day takeover in 1999. This year over 300 students from seven colleges participated in the programme across nine hotels managed by Kew Green Hotels.