A number of refugees from the Ukraine have successfully found work in Edinburgh hotels after completing the Destination Hospitality Programme to advance employment skills and help people into jobs in the UK hospitality industry.
Nine individuals fled the war and were enrolled onto the programme, run in Edinburgh by Springboard, a charity set up to support people – and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – find employment in hospitality. The employability course was funded by Solidarity Accor, Accor’s long-established endowment fund created to fight economic and social exclusion, and was run in partnership with Accor.
Since graduating the training programme, so far five of the trainees – 90 per cent of whom were Ukrainian refugees – have successfully secured jobs, including two who have secured roles in Accor hotels in Edinburgh.
Olga, who left the Ukraine with her children, has secured a role as a receptionist at ibis South Bridge, shares:
“I was amazed by the willingness to help, involvement and flexibility of all Springboard team members. They were ready to find additional placement after learning that the biggest part of our group didn’t have normal access to the internet in our accommodation. They were ready to rebuild and customize some days of the program to respond to the group’s needs. Moreover, they helped me not to forget who I am.
“The Springboard charity course gave me an opportunity to understand the standards of the UK customer service and hospitality working approaches which are a little different from Ukrainian ones. Being a stranger in a new country, it’s necessary to understand local rules, and business habits and build professional connections. Springboard’s mentors helped me a lot not only with studying modules but with good advice and psychological support.”
Maryna, a single mother who fled the war in the Ukraine to find shelter for herself and daughter in Scotland, is now successfully working as an F&B Assistant at the ibis Edinburgh Centre, South Bridge. Commenting on the programme, she states: “I learned to work in a team and I have become more confident. I learned many differences in working with clients in my country, Ukraine and Scotland.
“Given that I am a refugee from Ukraine, I would like to be useful for the country which provided us with shelter. Eventually, I would like to return to Ukraine and bring the knowledge I received here to my home country.”
The Destination Hospitality programme was a three-week programme consisting of in-person and online training and engagement to help to develop soft skills and industry-specific knowledge/qualifications, culminating in a one-week work placement.
The programme offered work placements in several Accor hotels in Edinburgh including Novotel Edinburgh Centre, Lauriston Place; ibis Edinburgh Centre, South Bridge; and ibis Edinburgh, Royal Mile.
Fran Carr, Talent & Culture Director, Accor UKI, commented: “Accor, our hotel teams and Solidarity Accor are proud to work with partners like Springboard to create a brighter future for those who deserve it. It is our duty to support those impacted by economic and social exclusion, and why programmes like this are so important. I’m excited to hear of the ongoing success these new recruits achieve.”
Chris Gamm, CEO, Springboard, commented: “It was a huge honour to work with this highly capable and enthusiastic cohort of candidates. The hospitality industry desperately needs great people and each individual brought a unique skill set to the table, along with a desire to learn and a real drive to get back to work. Having experienced a huge upheaval in their lives and been forced to leave everything, including their careers, behind, it is admirable to see this resilience in action.”