Premier Inn is an award-winning hotel brand, as well as the UK’s largest budget hotel chain, with 640 hotels and more than 50,000 rooms across the UK. In December 2012, a new £12 million Premier Inn opened on the Walsall Waterfront, with 100 bedrooms and a Brewers Fayre restaurant, created a total of 65 new jobs in the area.
Working in partnership with Walsall College and Jobcentre Plus, Premier Inn formed a Sector Work Based Academy as part of its recruitment drive in Walsall. A Sector Work Based Academy is a government backed initiative, which takes unemployed individuals from a local area, provides them with nationally recognised qualifications, allows them to experience work placements in the chosen industry and guarantees interviews with companies in that sector.
Candidates, who were successfully screened by Job Centre Plus from over 500 initial applicants, were invited to an assessment day at Walsall College where their training needs were identified. The hopefuls were then enrolled onto a three-week preemployability course, which covered a range of topics including customer service, office operations, food hygiene and cleaning to ensure they had the key skills required by Premier Inn.
After successfully gaining five qualifications, 37 people who were previously unemployed were then offered permanent roles at the Premier Inn, including in housekeeping, guest services and hospitality.
Restaurant New Openings Manager for Premier Inn, Emily Bennett commented: “Our partnership with Walsall College has meant that those people who took part in the pre-employment training course, and progressed to working in our hotel will have a great start to their new jobs. The college’s capacity to deliver a very large volume of highly trained candidates in a short space of time was particularly useful to us as a business.”
Employability Project Manager at Walsall College, Jason Fisher said: “Filling multiple vacancies can be a time consuming and costly procedure for businesses of any size or nature. Our pre-recruitment training courses are designed to allow us to support businesses recruit staff that meet their requirements, and then ensure they are equipped with the skills required to fulfil their roles.
“We worked closely with Premier Inn to develop a training programme that reflected the core skills they required their candidates to have, as well as provide staff with the confidence and motivation to perform their new jobs to the best of their abilities.”