Leading London Hotels partner with Saira Hospitality to create a sustainable solution to the UK’s staffing crisis

Saira Hospitality, the global non-profit hospitality training programme that sources and trains undiscovered talent from disadvantaged backgrounds for the hospitality industry, has partnered with several of London’s leading hospitality brands to launch its first permanent hospitality school, which will be based in the capital.

The school, which is set to open in May 2022, will help source and hire a new generation of talent, providing vital support to London’s hotels who are facing an unprecedented staffing crisis created by a double blow of the pandemic and Brexit. A collective of renowned hotel brands including The Hoxton, Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, Edyn, Inhabit and Montcalm are partnering with Saira Hospitality to hire graduates from the school and provide meaningful employment to those from less advantaged backgrounds.

Saira Hospitality’s CEO, Harsha L’Acqua comments, “In the face of the largest staffing crisis hospitality has seen, the need to think differently, as well as collectively as an industry has never been greater. We have a unique moment to introduce a new way of hiring to the industry at a time when they are forced to listen, bringing education, employment and opportunities to those who truly need and deserve it.”

Saira is partnering with a series of other non-profits, local authorities, and government organisations to train and inspire people who might not have considered a career in hospitality. These partners include refugee employment charities, youth empowerment groups, mentorship programmes for ex-offenders and organisations that facilitate meaningful change for socially disadvantaged individuals. Widening the pool further, Saira is teaming-up with local councils and government organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions to source new talent.

The school will work off Saira’s established curriculum, which has been developed and endorsed by a board of industry-leading figures and hospitality professionals around the world, from trainers for the Four Seasons, Directors of Operations at Ace Hotels and Brand Managers a W Hotels. The school begins with the development of essential soft skills such as cross-cultural communication and self-awareness, before building on the practical skills needed to enter front and back of house roles. Saira has joined with Cornell University’s online learning platform, eCornell, offering students the opportunity to complete their online module in Service Excellence.

Launched in 2014, Saira Hospitality has successfully partnered with hotels around the world to educate and empower local communities. Over the past seven years, the organisation has created curriculums for some of the most aspirational names in hospitality, including Rosewood in the BVIs, Habitas in Namibia and Standard Hotels in Mexico. As well as having a life-changing impact on local communities, Saira’s model has a marked effect on hotel operations, decreasing average staff turnover rates from 60% to just 10% year-on-year. When taking these figures into account, hotels that partner with Saira save up to £2,950 on training and recruitment costs per team member hired through the school. Saira’s game-changing model proves that putting people and purpose first can have a tangible impact on business.

Following graduation from the school, which is located on Redchurch Street in east London, Saira’s hotel partners have the opportunity to hire directly from this pool of newly trained, impassioned talent who are ready to begin their careers in the industry.

Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn, said “We are thrilled to be partnering with Saira Hospitality and supporting their mission to evolve hiring practices in London. As a Collective Partner, we’re honoured to be part of such an inclusive project that will have a positive impact on people’s livelihood while launching new, lasting careers in the industry. We are excited to share our insights and experience, and be part of the process that nurtures undiscovered talent starting out in hospitality.”

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