County academy’s success is hailed at Holyrood

The success of the East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy in being honoured with a prestigious UK-wide Times Educational Supplement Further Education Award, has been hailed at Holyrood by county MSP Iain Gray.

Mr Gray has tabled a motion welcoming the pioneering project’s success, which came via Edinburgh College in the University HE Access Widening Participation category. The college is one of three partner organistions that run the academy, along with Queen Margaret University (QMU) and East Lothian Council.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“The East Lothian hospitality and tourism academy is an excellent initiative. It has quickly developed an enviable track record for creating new opportunities for the young people who have gone through the programme. I am delighted that its work has been recognised at these prestigious awards.

“The hallmark of its success has clearly been the strong partnership that has been forged between Edinburgh College, which received the award on this occasion, QMU, East Lothian Council, and its many industry partners. I want to congratulate everyone involved in the academy on this success and wish all the partners well with developing its work in the future.”

The academy, which was launched in 2012, smooths the transition between school, college and university, and aims to open up opportunities for 16-18-year-olds who might not have considered themselves suited for further or higher education.

In its first year, the academy recruited 34 S5 and S6 pupils from East Lothian schools and gave them the chance to take part in a two-year programme of practical work experience and theory at Edinburgh College and QMU, leading to industry-recognised qualifications.

Following this initial two-year programme, students can move on to a related course at the college or university, or to a job in the sector. Thirty of the first group of students completed HNC and employability modules, with 18 going on to study the full HNC in 2013-14 while still at school, four progressing to Edinburgh College to study the SVQ2 Professional Cookery, and eight moving into employment.

Employers supporting the academy include Marriott, Novotel, Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, Jurys Inn, Mercure, Prestonfield, Best Western and Fraser Suites Edinburgh.