QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 76 - Page 17

A New Apex partnership creates centre for hospitality excellence dynamic new collaboration between Apex Hotels and QMU is set to ensure that new graduates can ‘hit the ground running’ when they enter the hospitality industry. The successful hotel group has joined forces with QMU to establish a ‘live centre for hospitality excellence’. The initiative is providing QMU’s BA (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management students with an enhanced level of practical experience. Through this collaboration, since October 2012, 32 students have been undertaking practical units at Apex Hotels European Hotel at Haymarket, Edinburgh within the areas of front of house, food and beverage and housekeeping. The ‘real life’ hotel experience is designed to complement their degree course and further develop their knowledge in preparation for their industry career. Following successful completion of the units, students will have part-time employment opportunities with Apex Hotels and will be required to achieve the same high standards of customer service delivered by current Apex employees. In addition, students will gain knowledge of Apex support functions such as sales, marketing, revenue, finance and human resource management. Norman Springford, Apex Hotels Chairman, commented: “We are entering into a new and exciting long term partnership with QMU that will provide a unique opportunity for the next generation of hospitality students to develop their professional and practical hospitality skills during their degree course. By offering this additional ‘real life’ experience to students, it is our wish that they emerge from their degree course with not only a professional qualification but with valuable hotel experience. We believe that this combination will increase the number of capable graduates ready to become the future leaders of the hospitality industry.” Trevor Laffin, Head of Division of Business, Enterprise and Management at QMU, stated: “This collaboration demonstrates a ground- breaking relationship in Scotland which will benefit our students from the very outset of their studies through to graduation and beyond. This will be a unique learning experience, allowing them to combine the theoretical and managerial aspects o f their programme whilst gaining experience in high quality hotel environment.” ❒ Scottish partnership launches rural Indian tourism co-operative on world stage I n November, QMU and tourism specialists, Dunira Strategy together launched a unique Indian tourism co-operative at the world’s highest profile travel and tourism event. The Scottish partnership and YES Bank (India) showcased ‘Edge of India’ at the World Travel Market held in London. The promotional platform provided outstanding global exposure for ‘Edge of India’, a co-operative tourism network of rural Indian villages which aims to help lift communities out of poverty, and put lesser known destinations on the global tourist map. Working with communities, ‘Edge of India’ uses local resources to help people develop their own areas as tourism destinations. These unique locations offer visitors a taste of life in some of the most underdeveloped but stunningly beautiful parts of India. The project team, which is supported by YES bank and funded by the Scottish Government, has developed four co-operative tourism societies in Uttarakhand and West Bengal. At the London-based exhibition, the brand ‘Edge of India’ was used for the first time to promote the project’s first ‘homestay’ visits. Andrew Frew, Professor of ICT and Tourism at QMU, said: “This is a poverty alleviation project which builds infrastructure and helps people improve their lives. This co-operative model has the potential to safeguard and support rural communities. It will offer the more adventurous traveller markets an authentic cultural experience in underdeveloped locations which very few people outside India will even be aware of. The unique offering will be basic but will provide access to real people in genuine surroundings in real communities. Travellers will see life as it really is, and will also experience India’s stunning landscape and traditions. It has many advantages over more traditional tour packages as it is designed to make a real contribution to local economies and have an immediate positive impact on the local people and the community.” In just over two years the project team has been able to officially register four co-operative tourism networks consisting of rural villages, with more planned in the coming six months. The University is actively seeking further funding from Scotland and beyond to roll out more co-operative projects. Having now produced a robust model, a sustainable network structure, developed training materials, and constructed a brand and portal, the team is well placed to replicate the process and extend involvement. W:goo.gl/vpdKx or www.edgeofindia.com ❒ QMYOU / Sustainable Business 17