The Goring hotel has teamed up with a charity to launch a hotel school to teach homeless people the basics of hospitality and help them into full-time work.
The five-red-AA-star, 69-bedroom hotel in London’s Belgravia launched the Hotel School in 2017 in partnership with its neighbour, the Passage Homeless Resource Centre.
College teachers deliver the course, developed by education expert Geoff Booth, with a selection of industry leaders, Michelin-starred chefs including John Williams and Chris Galvin, award-winning baristas and hospitality leaders providing masterclasses and Q&As.
The school already has more than 50 volunteer mentors, trainers, chefs and inspirational speakers, such as rugby world cup winner Will Greenwood, who is helping students improve their fitness in preparation for the workplace.
Co-founder Jeremy Goring (pictured) said: “Hotels and restaurants are packed with witty, entertaining, genuinely interesting people, so when we designed this programme we called around to see who might put their hand up to come and volunteer. Everybody we called, whether Michelin star chef, hipster barista, hotel managing director or master cocktail mixologist, said yes without any hesitation. The support we’ve had has been amazing and proves how lucky we are to work in this great industry.”
In an average cohort of 12, 11 students are completing the 12-week programme with eight or nine finding full-time employment on completion, some of who had not been in employment for 30 years.
Hotel School has partnered with most of London’s major homeless charities including St Mungo’s and Centrepoint, as well as with major hotels and hotel groups including the Ritz London, Red Carnation Hotels and Park Plaza.
The school is currently in a temporary site in Victoria, but with each course 300% oversubscribed it is looking for a larger permanent home.
Goring added: “Maybe the reason our students stick with us, is because we have gifted teachers to teach core skills, but also because we make it fun and engaging. We’ve been lucky to attract some of the amazing personalities that are synonymous with in the hotel industry, such as John Williams, Chris Galvin and the fabulous ‘headmistress’ Veronique [Bonnefoy], who cut her teeth as head of training for Gordon Ramsay. Hospitality at large has also wrapped its arms around the endeavour and the combination seems to be working.”
Mick Clarke, Passage chief executive and Hotel School co-founder added: “Hotel School gives homeless people the opportunity to access real employment in one of the most exciting and rewarding sectors to work in; we are proud to be a co-founder of it.”