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Norwich’s pioneering hotel takeover initiative goes nationwide

PUBLISHED: 06:45 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:52 20 February 2018

A City College Norwich student during the 2016 takeover. Picture: Courtesy City Collge Norwich

A City College Norwich student during the 2016 takeover. Picture: Courtesy City Collge Norwich

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Almost 200 hospitality students from Norwich are gearing up to get involved in an annual takeover of three city hotels next week.

Joe Mulhall, curriculum programme manager, City College Norwich. Picture: Courtesy City College NorwichJoe Mulhall, curriculum programme manager, City College Norwich. Picture: Courtesy City College Norwich

The award-winning work experience initiative will see City College Norwich students take over the running of the Holiday Inn Norwich North, Ipswich Road and City Centre filling various roles from general manager to bar assistant and receptionist.

The project has this year expanded to include other hotels around the country thanks to a partnership between the college and InterContinental Hotel Group’s (IHG’s) Academy.

The inaugural IHG National Student Takeover, from February 26 to March 2, will see more than 1,000 college students taking on roles within 30 IHG hotels across the country.

The IHG takeover is modelled on City College Norwich’s pioneering hotel takeover, which is now in its 19th year.

Holiday Inn Norwich North general manager Bill Heath.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Holiday Inn Norwich North general manager Bill Heath. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Starting with just a single hotel in 2000, the annual Norwich Hotel Takeover has expanded to include all three Holiday Inn hotels in the city, as well as Norwich International Airport.

In total, 187 City College Norwich students are set to be involved across the four sites this year.

Bill Heath, general manager at the Holiday Inn Norwich North, who originally conceptulised the idea said: “With over 35 hotels and colleges taking part across the UK next week, I’m delighted to see this Norwich initiative going live across the UK in 2018 giving the hundreds of students who take part in this amazing experience a true reflection of life in a real functioning hotel.

“This is true partnership between industry and education that is finally getting the recognition it deserves.”

Joe Mulhall, curriculum programme manager, City College Norwich, said: “A key factor in the long-running success of the takeover has been the great working relationships we have had with Bill Heath and his team at Norwich’s Holiday Inn hotels.

“An awful lot of planning and preparation goes into the takeover, but it is always worth it because college and hotel staff alike see the huge benefits it brings to our students.”

The week will include a charity gala dinner at the Holiday Inn Norwich North, on March 1, complete with entertainment from the college’s travel and tourism students.

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