The Celtic Manor Resort, the Welsh Rarebits Collection and University of South Wales (USW) have joined forces to develop the next generation of hotel and hospitality managers, and fill a growing shortage of senior staff in the sector.
The partnership will help fill a predicted gap of 66,000 hospitality and tourism managers by 2022.
From next September, students on USW's new BA (Hons) Hotel and Hospitality Management course will be able to get first-hand experience of working in the industry. The course will combine weekly practical exposure with classroom lectures, designed to support the students learning and increase their ability to be 'industry ready' at the end of their three-year course.
During their first and third years this will be at the five-star Celtic Manor Resort in South Wales, where they will gain a wide variety of skills that are required at operational and management levels in the hospitality industry - ranging from rooms division, food and beverage, conference, banqueting and event management.
In year two, as well as time at Celtic Manor Resort, students will also undertake an external placement, either at the smaller luxury boutique establishments offered by the Welsh Rarebits Collection, or through other hotel and hospitality partners in the UK and internationally.
All placements will be combined with classroom-based learning at USW's Newport City Campus, where students will learn about business elements including marketing, sales, human resource management, financial management and entrepreneurship. This classroom based learning will be supported with practical experience within the support areas of the resort during year two and three. There will also be a particular focus on sustainability and the environment, including reducing the industry's carbon footprint.
Professor Helen Langton, USW Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: "The hotel and hospitality industry is telling us that there aren't enough graduate-level candidates available to fill the number of vacancies within this growing sector.
"Working with the providers of some of the very best facilities in Wales, including the Celtic Manor Resort and the Welsh Rarebits Collection, we are supporting the industry's aim to fill the gap by providing a tailored, practical course that prepares students for management-level jobs.
"It's the first course in Wales that will run through a hotel school model in conjunction with a range of high-quality partners. The course will also include training on providing sustainability within business by lowering its environmental impact.
"These are all very real issues that are facing the hotel and hospitality industry and, working with such renowned and respected establishments, we are hoping to help them address both the staffing and environmental challenges the sector faces."
Celtic Manor Resort Chief Executive Ian Edwards said: "We are excited to partner with the University of South Wales to deliver this new degree course in Hotel and Hospitality Management.
"This will be a pioneering course in the levels of hands-on industry training and experience the students will gain during their three years of study. The Celtic Manor Resort will be a fantastic classroom for these students to learn in because of the size, variety and quality of our facilities, and the enthusiasm, dedication and experience of our team.
"Having run our own successful Trainee Management Programme across all departments of the Resort for the last three years, we know it will develop graduates rounded in all aspects of the hospitality business and ready to address the current shortage of skills in this area."
Mike Morgan, Director of the Welsh Rarebits Collection, said: "Tourism and hospitality is a fabulous career path, which is why I am delighted that so many of our membership, leading figures in the independent boutique Welsh hotel sector, have got right behind this ground-breaking partnership with such a forward thinking University.
"The brightest young stars of the hospitality industry will be offered a uniquely valuable insight into luxury hotel keeping which will serve them well for years to come. The many facets of our tremendously important tourism sector need great people, and I am convinced that this initiative will produce the very best. Together we aim to show them, and the world, that Wales really is the home of Croeso."