De Vere opens academy at the Ricoh Arena
21st November 2011
New De Vere Academy at the Ricoh Arena
The De Vere Academy of Hospitality has pledged to create 10,000 apprenticeships over the next three years after opening its 11th venue at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Around 170 guests from Coventry City Council, the National Apprenticeship Service, Jobcentre Plus, businesses providing work placements and the families of apprentices attended the launch.
The first group of cookery and customer service apprentices served drinks and lunch and welcomed guests before the visitors were taken on a tour of the academy.
Andrew Coppel, executive chairman of the De Vere Group which is the country’s largest independent hotel business, said the scheme was creating the next generation of apprentice chefs and service staff.
Speaking at the launch, he said: “Nearly 2,000 young people have passed through the various academies and graduated as apprentices to go into the big wide world since this was launched last January.
“We want 10,000 apprentices to go through our academies over the next three years. The academies create stars and we’re proud of them all.
“We’re seeing stars here today and there are great opportunities for them to develop their careers.”
Daniel Gidney, chief executive of the Ricoh Arena, said this was a wonderful project which would help to alleviate some of the unemployment issues for young people in Coventry and Warwickshire.
“This whole project is a microcosm of why the Ricoh Arena was created in the first place,” said Daniel, who is a board member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
“We have a fantastic strong commercial relationship with De Vere and this is not only something that’s great since it has a commercial strength behind it but has a strong local community focus as well.
“Our primary focus is with the Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETS) which is a significant issue in this area and throughout the country.
“There is over one million young people unemployed for the first time in our history and this is a very difficult time but in Coventry and Warwickshire we are leading the way in a number of activities to promote youth employment to break down some of the barriers behind taking on apprentices.”
Kellie Rixon, managing director of the De Vere Academy of Hospitality, said she was delighted to be opening its 11th location.
She said: “The De Vere Academy has had fantastic success in training and developing the career prospects of hundreds of young people. We are committed to raising skills across our sector as well as attracting a new breed of hospitality star.
“We are proud to be working with so many of our industry partners to achieve such amazing results.”
PICTURE CAPTION: From the left, Apprentices Katie Brandist, Nicole Moore, Cllr John Mutton (Coventry City Council), Andrew Coppel (De Vere Group), Kellie Rixon (De Vere Group), Daniel Gidney (Ricoh Arena), Christopher Hall and Lauren Charley