Plymouth University works with prestigious industry partners to launch new University Hotel School

Giving hospitality managers a grounding that will inspire and influence their future careers is the vision behind a new innovation from Plymouth University.
Students at the University Hotel School, being launched in February 2014, will benefit from existing and new industry partnerships to gain enlightening experiences that will enhance their future employability.

They will also have the opportunity to work with acclaimed academics, with experience of working in some of the world’s top hotel schools, to develop the skills and motivation they need to succeed in the sector.

The new School will aim to establish Plymouth as one of the leading national centres for hospitality education, building on its existing reputation for delivering first class academic programmes in Hospitality and Cruise Management.

Professor Paul Brunt, Head of the School of Tourism and Hospitality at Plymouth University, said: “The University Hotel School will be dedicated to providing tomorrow’s hospitality graduates with a stimulating and engaging learning experience. By linking closely with a series of industry partners, we are working to enhance a curriculum that is already informed by sustainability, innovation and best practice. Our ambition is for our graduates to be grounded and rounded professionals, with real business acumen and a sense of pride in everything they do.”

The new School will have seven patrons, who play prominent roles within the hospitality industry and will lend their expertise to the ongoing development of the academic programme. They are:

  • Tony Potter, President of international consultants Braveagle;
  • Peter Ducker, Chief Executive of The Institute of Hospitality;
  • Dr Anne Pierce, Chief Executive of The Springboard Charity;
  • David Dingle, CEO of Carnival UK;
  • James Brent, Chairman of the Akkeron Group LLP;
  • Philippe Rossiter, Executive Secretary of The Master Innholders;
  • Olga Polizzi, owner of Hotel Endsleigh and daughter of the late Lord Forte.

David Dingle said: “The new Hotel School at Plymouth University has a serious ambition to prepare future graduates to be industry ready while working to provide stimulating ‘real world’ learning experiences. As a result, I believe the various degrees on offer at the Hotel School, which includes the BSc (Hons) Cruise Management, will be of real value to the Hospitality and Cruise Industry.”

Tony Potter added: “Operating and delivering hospitality is a complex discipline and it is essential that individuals and business are up to date with the very latest developments. The creation of the University Hotel School is an inspired move and a real opportunity to roll back the frontiers of learning and growth. For students it will provide the finest point of entry to an exciting business and to all of us it will be a dynamic and fun opportunity for personal and group growth.”


Luke Slater’s dreams of working in the hospitality industry owe a lot to Gordon Ramsay, and the way he “commanded his brigade of chefs to produce a product that was talked about across the world”.

But it was while completing his A-levels in West Sussex, during which he worked in his local pub that he decided to pursue it as a career. Having been a waiter and commis chef, it dawned on him that he wanted to be the person looking at the future and deciding what needed to be done.

With that in mind, Luke enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Hospitality Management degree at Plymouth University, which included a one-year work placement, and he is now furthering his studies on the new Msc International Hospitality Management programme.

He said: “Getting a degree in Hospitality Management is not about knowing every grape variety in France, every ingredient in a Souffle or every Michelin starred restaurant in the world. It is about changing the way you think and approach problem solving. In hospitality, every decision you make affects people, whether it be staff or customers. It's crucial therefore that you think about them in a logical, unbiased, outside view - and that's what you get from a degree.”

As part of his degree, Luke worked for a year at Hotel Endsleigh – owned by Olga and Alex Polizzi (of The Hotel Inspector fame) – where the skills he had learnt on his course were put into practice. “I covered everything from 'hospital corners' and which polish to use where, through to carrying plates, pouring wines and carrying luggage. It was an amazing experience and everything I learned at university in my first two years, suddenly became a reality,” he added.

Having completed his degree, and seeing at first hand the benefits of the University working with industry, Luke is a passionate supporter of the new University Hotel School.

“I am really pleased that students will now have an enhanced opportunity to work with industry professionals throughout their time at university. I have no doubt that gaining an insight into the hospitality industry, mixed with various learning techniques and the fantastic support from academic staff, will help students excel themselves when they venture into their chosen careers,” he said.

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