East Coast College launches new Hospitality and Tourism Skills Academy


A new Hospitality and Tourism Skills Academy has been launched by East Coast College to provide specialist training for school leavers, apprentices and adults to meet the needs of the industry in Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and beyond.

The new academy will see the college strengthen its relationships with leading employers in the hospitality and tourism sector, underpinned by the Visit East of England agenda to celebrate all the area has to offer through arts, culture, heritage, and some of the best food and drink offerings in the UK using local.

The academy will launch in October with a fully-funded Junior Chef Project for 10 to 15-year-olds which aims to increase interest in the sector working with local employers, as well as providing a pipeline of future hospitality and catering professionals. The exciting new project will benefit 30 young people and provide a flavour of what it is like working in the industry, as well as a focus on the latest trends in the sector.

The Junior Chef Project has secured funding from the Visitor Economy Network Initiative (VENI); an industry collaboration project to help develop skills for the visitor economy and supporting businesses in the sector so that they can better make use of skills provision in the region.

The Hospitality and Tourism Skills Academy will also see the college offering funded opportunities through VENI for small and medium sized businesses within the hospitality and tourism sector. Part funded by the ESF, it will provide training to businesses who wish to upskill their staff in courses such as world host customer service, food hygiene, barista training and more.

East Coast College Assistant Principal Holly Chase presenting the plaque to Fritton Lake.

Holly Chase, Assistant Principal at East Coast College, said: “We are extremely excited to launch the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Academy which demonstrates the importance of initiating change and inspiring young people to see how rewarding it can be to be part of the dynamic hospitality and tourism industry within their local community.

“We are delighted to have received the support of businesses such as the Imperial Hotel, Morston Hall and Fritton Lake to drive this academy forward and shape its future growth. The academy will also form an exciting part of our new £50m Great Yarmouth campus, which will include a state-of-the-art restaurant for student training.”

East Coast College marked the launch of its new academy by presenting key employers with special plaques to demonstrate the already valued relationships the college has within the hospitality and tourism sector, showcasing a shared passion and drive for the continued quality and year-round growth in the East of England.

Nick Mobbs, owner of the Imperial Hotel in Great Yarmouth, said: “We are delighted to be working with East Coast College and their new Hospitality and Tourism Skills Academy. As a business we are firm believers in training both for the kitchen and front of house. Roger Mobbs started the legacy back in the 70s of taking on apprentices in the kitchen who have gone on to have very successful careers both within the Imperial Hotel and locally around Norfolk and abroad. We have worked closely with East Coast College for many years and we look forward to being involved and have high hopes for the new academy.”

Chris Bartlett, Head Chef at Fritton Lake, said: “We are excited by the launch of the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Academy and Junior Chef Project at East Coast College. We love our industry with its reach into all areas of life and for the opportunities it offers to the next generation. Changing the way we eat and the way we grow are challenging goals and will be uniquely important in striving towards a sustainable and regenerative future. To achieve that we need the brightest and most passionate young minds to help drive the change, and we believe that in partnering with East Coast College we can develop the next generation to help work towards these goals.”

And Pete Waters, Executive Director for Visit East of England, said: “At a time when the industry is negotiating a huge shortfall of trained staff, this is a timely and very welcome initiative by East Coast College, particularly in a community where more than 40% of employment is linked to tourism.
“Working in partnership with business, this will not only provide youngsters with the training, skills and experience to give them careers for life, but it will also help change the narrative that the industry is ‘seasonal, low-skilled and low-paid’. This is a much-needed step towards developing a year-round sustainable visitor and hospitality economy.”

The Junior Chef Project will start on 8th October 2022 at the East Coast College Great Yarmouth campus. For further details please contact Sophie Gillett at s.gillett@eastcoast.ac.uk.

For apprenticeship enquiries in the hospitality and tourism sector, please email apprenticeships@eastcoast.ac.uk

To find out about funded opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to upskill staff, contact veniproject@eastcoast.ac.uk.

The Visitor Economy Network Initiative (VENI) is a further education and industry collaboration with East Coast College helping to develop skills for the visitor economy and supporting businesses in the region.

The Visitor Economy Network Initiative (VENI) project is part funded by the European Social Fund.