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The Grand Oct 11

York College students described as “shining examples” and “great assets” to The Grand, York

Past-and-present students of York College & University Centre are demonstrating how transferable skills from their studies have secured them roles within the prestigious and award-winning luxury hotel.

Katie Coates and Harriet Bourke, both members of The Grand’s Food & Beverage department, took different educational routes at York College & University Centre, before securing roles in the hospitality industry. Katie is currently studying her A Levels and Harriet followed the vocational route, studying various catering-based courses before joining the Team at The Grand in 2016.

Katharine Dent, Head of Curriculum: Business, Hospitality & Tourism on how we are filling the hospitality industry skills gap:

“Our focus in the Hospitality curriculum here at College is to provide students with the transferrable skills that mean they can adapt and be successful in all areas of the Hospitality sector.

“Skills like problem solving and leadership skills are developed alongside the practical skills and this gives our students the ability to adapt to the needs of the varying sizes and types of hospitality organisations in the local area and the region more widely.

“We’re highly conscious of how important it is to work with employers to give students the ambition and abilities to enter careers in the hospitality sector, not just take on part-time jobs, as this benefits the students and employers alike.”

The Grand, which is housed in one of the historic city of York’s most iconic buildings, delivers the finest of Yorkshire hospitality, from locally sourced food and beverages to bespoke experiential packages. The Grand’s commitment to providing five-star luxury was highlighted when it won Hotel of the Year at The 2022 Catey Awards, firmly cementing its reputation as one of the UK’s top establishments.

Katie Coates, A Level Business, History and Textiles student, talks about her experience of studying at York College & University Centre and her employment at The Grand:

“I’m currently studying A Levels in Business, History and Textiles and have been working at The Grand for six months in Legacy, which is their fine dining restaurant, as a Demi Chef de Rang.

“Working at The Grand fits in perfectly with College, as working weekends allows me to still keep on top on my coursework.

“I enjoy having more freedom and responsibility at College. I find the independent study days useful as I can use it to make sure I understand lessons and make sure all coursework is updated. This is particularly helpful with my textiles work.

“My duties at The Grand include setting up the restaurant for service - everything has to be perfect as that is what Legacy is all about. I serve food during service and explain the dishes to guests. It’s about making sure that the guests have a memorable experience.

“The best thing about working at The Grand is the people, it’s a great team to work with. I work within a small team: there are four chefs who are led by Head Chef, Ahmed Abdalla, and four other front-of-house staff who are led by Restaurant Manager, Derek Scaife.

“In the future I would love to continue to work in the hospitality industry and I am hoping to do an apprenticeship with The Grand as they offer some great opportunities. My end goal is to work towards being a General Manager. I love working in hospitality and The Grand is a great place to gain experience.”

On working with Katie, Derek Scaife, Legacy Restaurant Manager, said:

“Katie is a lovely student. She is well presented and has great attendance. Katie works well within the team in supporting her colleagues, and working within the structure of the team to deliver a great service.

“Katie is a great asset for Legacy in the way that she represents the restaurant in her interactions with the guests, and she has a strong understanding of hospitality. Katie is a credit to herself.”

Harriet Bourke, former vocational student and Waitress at The Grand, tells us her story:

“I studied various courses at York College between 2013 and 2016. These included Professional Cookery, Patisserie and Confectionery and Hospitality Services.

“I studied full-time at York College and, when I completed my studies, I started working at The Grand. It was during a class trip to The Grand where I became interested in working there. I will have worked at The Grand for seven years this Christmas.

“Whilst at College, I enjoyed studying one subject at a time in depth as there were a mixture of classroom lessons and practical lessons. For example, I may not be a chef in my current role, but I still use some of the cookery knowledge, such as food safety and allergens.

“I really liked the opportunity to do different types of work at College. We had Ashfields, which is the on-site training restaurant, and we also completed work placements off site. Hospitality is a huge industry, so the different experiences really helped me decide what I wanted to do.

“At The Grand, I am a waitress in The Rise who delivers breakfast and afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is my favourite because I get to serve people loads of delicious cakes! My favourite thing about working at The Grand is the opportunity to learn and improve my knowledge.

“I’d like to work hard and keep learning as much as I can so that I can progress into a supervisory role. My dream is to be a noteworthy person in York's afternoon tea industry.”

Rebecca Rudd, The Rise Assistant Restaurant Manager, describes Harriet as a “shining example”:

Harriet has a passion for all things tea and strives to deliver and present guests with an amazing experience. She has an ability to list, in detail, the offerings and provide personal recommendations tailored to the guests’ requirements.

“Harriet is a shining example of care, drive and excellence - all the core values of The Grand.

“Harriet’s love for her role at The Grand is noted, not only from the guests but also from her team. Harriet has a willingness to put herself forward and develop her own skill set, with a clear goal for her future career. Harriet is a true credit to have working at The Grand.”

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development

Opportunities such as these, allow us to work towards a better future in line with The Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked objectives designed to serve as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”.

Which of the goals did this project benefit?

Learn more

Our Business, Hospitality & Tourism curriculum areas include A Level study, Apprenticeships, T Level study, Vocational, and Courses for Adults.

We have state-of-the-art training kitchens and a superb training restaurant, Ashfields. Students can develop their skills in food and menu preparation, learn how to provide a first-class restaurant service, and be part of the team to provide an exciting dining experience for our clients.

Providing teaching by tutors with extensive experience in the industry, we have strong links with local and national employers, an excellent success rate in local and national competitions and 100% progression to higher studies or employment.

For more information on Hospitality at York College & University Centre, click here.

For more information on The Grand, click here.