work / People

Hospitality Connect

Inspiring the next generation of hospitality.

Founder of the programme: Adrian Ellis

Hotelier of the Year Adrian Ellis (2022-2023) is the founder and developer of Hospitality Connect, a partnership project model with a framework of events to promote the hospitality sector and improve awareness of careers within the industry to a young student audience.

Realising the need to change the perception of the industry during the Covid19 pandemic, Adrian wanted to partner likeminded hoteliers with schools to offer employer encounters and industry insights. This project was successfully rolled out with Manchester Hoteliers Association members and the support of GMCA Careers Hub, starting with 10 hotels partnered with schools in 2021 and rising to over 30 partnerships in 2023. Each partnership delivers around six careers activities per year, taking place both at the hotel venue and at school. These activities bring the schools careers education programmes to life with curriculum enhancement, employer encounters and group experiences of the workplace for the students involved – underpinned by the Gatsby Benchmark framework.

This project is aimed at tackling ongoing recruitment challenges, and positively changing the image of the sector. Additionally, Hospitality Connect encourages enhanced contact with local FE colleges for the schools and hotels involved. Thus, enabling young students to have clear pathway insights for technical education and so that college aged students who are closest to the job market also benefit from good quality employer encounters from the hotels involved.

The project attracted funding from the Savoy Educational Trust in summer 2023 and the successful Manchester project model of delivery is now being replicated across the UK with an ambassador programme to celebrate the social value and volunteering taking place.


The aim of Hospitality Connect is to introduce school students to the world of hospitality via a meaningful partnership with a local hotel or hospitality venue.  Activities are delivered under four themes including curriculum enhancement, parental / carer engagement, hotel-based events and school based careers events including teacher encounters.

Objectives include:

  1. 1

    Improving awareness of the occupations available by delivering inspiring activities that will inform school students on the breadth of opportunity in the hospitality sector.

  2. 2

    Highlight pathways for learners aged 14 to 16+ and amplify technical education options that lead into the sector.

  3. 3

    Hoteliers and General Managers involved are trained as ‘Hospitality Connect Ambassadors’ to understand safeguarding, inclusion and how to partner with schools successfully.

Measuring impact

We are working with FE colleges in Greater Manchester and beyond to monitor cohort numbers for the following courses:  hospitality and catering, travel and tourism, business management and beauty.  We are evaluating both the whole cohort numbers and enrolment figures from the schools that have had a hotel partner.

During 2024 and beyond, we will share impact stories from schools, colleges and hotels regarding individuals that have been involved in the project and how they have been supported or inspired to take their next steps into the hospitality sector.

Please follow the hashtag #HospitalityConnect and our LinkedIn group for updates.

Region delivery

In 2024, Hospitality Connect is aiming to launch in 10 new city regions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The Hotels and Schools Liaison Manager will bring together Hotelier Association Chairs and their regional careers education hub teams to co-produce the partnership project aligned to local priorities.

For queries on how to get involved with Hospitality Connect, please contact Laura Johnson (Hotels and Schools Liaison Manager) on [email protected].

Resource directory

During 2024 this directory will include resources aimed at supporting hoteliers and hospitality staff to deliver careers education activities with school students.  Please check back often and follow our LinkedIn page for regular updates.

Hospitality Connect also works alongside the following organisations and we recommend their resource pages to support your understanding of the importance of partnership between the sector and education:

Winter 2023-24 Manchester bulletin

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Summer 2023 Manchester bulletin

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