The minister for disabled people, health and work Justin Tomlinson has welcomed the opening of a “ground breaking” miniature hotel by Premier Inn, which aims to help young people with additional needs get back into work.
The “little” Premier Inn 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.
Young people taking part in the programme will 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 new mini-hotel, which will not take paying guests, is a state-of-the-art training facility and will be used for young people to learn skills in the hospitality industry. Built by Novus Property Solutions, the company responsible for refurbishing hundreds of Premier Inn hotels across the country, it is an exact replica of a Premier Inn.
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 a linen room.
From guest relations to housekeeping, the facility will enable young people to learn about all areas of hospitality in a completely realistic hotel environment.
Tomlinson said: “Every young person should be able to reach their full potential and I wholeheartedly welcome Whitbread’s fantastic Premier Inn training hotel for young people with disabilities who want a career in hospitality, which will put them on the path to a successful future.
“There are 7.6 million working age disabled people in the UK and employers are missing out by not recruiting from this pool of skilled, loyal and hardworking talent. We are committed to working with employers to build inclusive workforces with schemes like Disability Confident, which provides businesses with the support they need to recruit and retain disabled people. And employers’ innovative training schemes, like the tiny hotel, are so important in helping to close the disability employment gap.”
Simon Ewins, Premier Inn managing director, added: “If you think of the average Premier Inn guest – there isn’t one. We welcome people from all walks of life, and from every corner of the world. It is only right our workforce reflects this.
“Diversity is at the core of our people plan and we continue our focus on becoming the most inclusive hospitality business. We recognise that a diverse and inclusive culture brings significant business benefits and ultimately leads to better business performance”.