Edinburgh College partners with EICC to pioneer hotel school development in the city

Paul Curran of QMile, Marshall Dallas and George Gordon of EICC, Audrey Cumberford of Edinburgh College and Stephanie Smith of the EICC board

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has been given the go-ahead for a pioneering hotel and hotel school development in Edinburgh, which will see Edinburgh College provide education and training to help address recruitment challenges faced by the hospitality industry in Scotland.

The 362 bedroom, 4 star hotel will occupy one of the most accessible locations in Edinburgh’s Haymarket, on a site well positioned for access to road, rail and air routes; business locations and visitor attractions; and the EICC.  

It aims to address conference demand issues for the EICC – which has hosted almost 1.5 million delegates at the conference centre venue since opening in 1995. Together, the hotel and hotel school are expected to provide significant job creation and economic benefit for the city.    

The hotel school and training academy will offer a career path for students and trainees while providing a pipeline of qualified people for Scotland’s leisure and tourism industry.  It will build close relationships with organisations including the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Edinburgh Hotels Association, British Hospitality Association, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland to ensure that the training offered matches the needs and recruitment challenges of the industry.  

The hotel school will operate a number of programmes at different academic levels, with the College and EICC envisaging that through interacting with different academic institutions it could run courses from NVQ level through to undergraduate and postgraduate degree curriculums. Incorporating the hotel school into the hotel will create a scenario whereby students would be working in a live operating environment.

Edinburgh College Principal Audrey Cumberford said: “The hotel training academy creates a unique opportunity to lead on the delivery of future skills in the sector via a new model for industry-education collaboration and delivery.  Importantly, the initiative enables us to create a pipeline of talent which speaks to key drivers for enterprise and skills development in the region.  It is vital we create a range of bespoke programmes, meeting the needs of our business partner and our students, ranging from schools to full-time, part-time and apprenticeship opportunities.”

Marshall Dallas, Chief Executive of the EICC, said: “The hotel and hotel school will take our fantastic venue to the next level on UK and international terms.  EICC has had many sup-porters that have helped guide us through the last couple of years, taking the hotel project from the idea stage to a fully formed, robust, business case. Top of that list would be EICC’s Board of Directors, including our inspiring and tenacious Chair, Cllr George Gordon, and Of-ficers at The City of Edinburgh Council.

“We know the events industry is experiencing a skills gap that is only becoming more of an issue.  The hotel and hotel school will go some way to alleviating that challenge while put-ting the EICC on an even stronger foot and keeping the venue at the forefront of Scotland’s overall proposition when it comes to business tourism.”