Connect Reading team up with Hospitality Association to help long-term unemployed

of Connect Reading’s Hospitality Industry Inspiration Project Vivienne Johnson

Local charity Connect Reading ran a one-day workshop at Reading’s Crowne Plaza Hotel to help 20 unemployed people learn about the variety of roles in the hospitality industry and explore options for a career in this field.

“People don’t realise you can get a real career with a good progress route and develop skills in the hospitality area,” said Holly Baker, Office and Project Manager of Connect Reading.

“People are on this course for all sorts of reasons but they all have some sort of barrier that makes it hard for them to find work such as being a single parents, long time unemployed, having just left prison on bail or licence, or, having health problems.

“This course helps to build up confidence and identify personal skills to get people out into the workplace.”

The course was held on Tuesday, February 10 and sees Connect working in close partnership with the Heart of Berkshire Hospitality Association which includes Hilton, Novotel, Holiday Inn Reading South and Crowne Plaza.

Daniel Loosley, the general manager of the Crowne Plaza hotel said: “The Crowne Plaza is very pleased to be hosting these workshops in partnership with Connect Reading. We are also getting involved by offering work experience opportunities at the hotel, which will give the delegates an insight into a fast growing and exciting industry that provides significant employment in the local area.”

For the second part of the course each person will get a work placement in a Reading hotel. Those taking part are Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Malmaison and Novotel. Delegates will be given work experience as kitchen porter, room attendant, health club assistant, laundry and maintenance assistant.

Ashraf Nabih, general manager of the Hilton Reading and chairman of the Heart of Berkshire Hospitality Association, said: “I believe that the hospitality industry is a great place to be for passionate talented people.

“As Conrad Hilton said ‘our aim is to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.’ We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Connect Reading on this innovative programme.”

Clare Wright, managing director of Connect Reading, said: “This project is a fantastic example of businesses supporting the local community. It has enabled us to bring together the need for work experience and helping people into work with a sector that is very important to Reading’s economy.

“The participants will gain so much from the experience and we are very grateful for the support from the Heart of Berkshire Hospitality Association.”

Holly added: “We have only been able to run this course because of funding from a European Social Fund Community Grants South East Region 2014-15.

“We hope it will be a success and want to replicate it.”

For more information about Connect Reading call 0118 959 1236 or log on to