The Copthorne Hotel, Newcastle welcomed students and businesses on Thursday 7 April as it was ‘taken over’ by Newcastle College. 

The annual takeover, returning for the first time since the pandemic, sees learners given exclusive access to assist in the running of the hotel and are selected to take on jobs in front-of-house, catering, hospitality and housekeeping. Key roles included room management, lunch preparation and service, reception duties and customer service operations. 

Regional employers in hospitality, travel, tourism, hair and beauty were invited to the hotel to discuss collaboration between industry and education and how Newcastle College can work more closely with them to attract more skilled, young people into careers in these sectors, as well as how more opportunities can be created. 

Guests included Kennedy and Rhind, Seaham Hall, The Body Shop, Hay’s Travel, Newcastle International Airport and Deli Fresh, many of whom already work in close partnership with the College. They enjoyed an afternoon tea created and served by hospitality students, as well as beauty and nail treatments. 

Phil Pringle, Curriculum Lead for Hospitality and Tourism at Newcastle College commented: “The purpose of this project is to give students unique inside knowledge of working within a busy city centre hotel and help them to gain essential skills that will prepare them for the world of work. We enjoy a brilliant relationship with The Copthorne and this support is invaluable for our learners. 

“This event is not only an important experience for our learners, who get to interact with and showcase their skills to potential employers, but also a fantastic opportunity to give something back to our employer partners. It was great to see so many attend and contribute some brilliant ideas as to how we can create even more opportunities and keep the hospitality and leisure industries in our region thriving.”