South West Wales

'Hotel school' in Tenby to offer student degree courses

The Fourcroft Hotel, Tenby
Image caption It is hoped the hotel school will put Tenby on the "culinary and academic map"

A "hotel school" offering university students degrees in the hospitality industry is to be launched in a Pembrokeshire resort.

Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) will offer two-year courses for up to 90 students to learn the ropes at Tenby's Fourcroft Hotel.

The hotel will continue to run all year round, with paying guests.

CMU says students will learn "every aspect of hotel management from check-in to check-out" from autumn 2015.

Professor Eleri Jones, associate dean at CMU, said lecturers were "really excited about designing a special two-year, practical, hands-on degree for delivery at Tenby Hotel School".

Students will learn skills including bar and kitchen duties, as well as front-of-house management and IT.

Towards the end of the course, it is hoped they will run the hotel themselves.

The university hopes the course will "turn out job-ready graduates" for the hospitality industry.

Chris Osborne, owner of the Fourcroft Hotel, said the school would be a "wonderful asset for the town".

He added: "Not only will it provide new degree level management graduates with hands on learning to the hospitality and tourism industry, but also it sets up Tenby as a student town, with all the additional benefits of year round economic gain."

Funding arrangements between the university and the hotel have yet to be finalised.

The idea for the course came from the Tenby Development Trust (TDT), a social enterprise limited company formed by a consortium of local people.

TDT board member Jeremy Bowen-Rees said: "Tenby is a beautiful town. There is nothing quite like it in Wales or for that matter in Britain.

"Our coast is regarded as being world-class, and yet the town has suffered over the last decade or so from lack of investment both in money and ideas.

"This is why we formed. At that time we were tired of seeing shops and hotels closing and key sites and areas within the town gradually deteriorating."

Mr Bowen-Rees said the trust wanted the school to provide employment, boost the local economy and "put Tenby on the culinary and academic map".

He added: "We believe that through the Hotel School, Tenby has the opportunity to become both a food destination and a university town."

Simon Hart, MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, said he would be "supporting it all the way", while Angela Burns AM said the school was "the economic and skills boost which the tourism industry in West Wales really needs".

Andrew Evans, chairman of the British Hospitality Association's Wales committee, said: "We wish the hotel school in Tenby every success.

"The project identifies the need to balance academic study with practical knowledge in a top class working environment.

"On completion of their studies the skills learned and qualifications gained can then be applied at management level within the hospitality industry based on work-ready experience rather than pure theory."

The idea follows a similar course at Coleg Menai in Bangor, Gwynedd, which launched last year and aims teaches students some of the skills required for a career in the cruise industry.

Lesley Tipping, director for service industries at Coleg Menai, said: "Wales should be doing more of this.

"Wales is a tourism Mecca, and visitors deserve high service from the establishments they visit."

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