IHG Academy offer work-based learning opportunities

Whilst helping our jobseekers to attain the role and career path that they aspire to, WorkFit is keen to support the benefits and associated opportunities of educational and vocational qualifications. Choosing education and/or training in their chosen career, will enhance our jobseekers’ prospects of securing a job.

Research1In a recent report, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills examined the positive impact and benefits of further education. They include:

  • changes in self-confidence or self-esteem
  • an increased likelihood of becoming more involved in the local community
  • a greater ability to make better use of spare time
  • more enthusiasm about, and potential uptake of, further education and learning
  • being better able to manage health issues or disabilities
  • improved wellbeing and happiness

The non-financial benefits of investment in further education and skills are confirmed as a way to generate long term economic growth and better social interaction.

Download a full copy of the report.

One example of the benefits of further education is the IHG Group’s Academy programme.

HolidayInnHolidayInnPicWorkFit North West has been working with Holiday Inn Express (part of the IHG Group) in Manchester. IHG Academy offer work-based learning opportunities which combine paid employment for one morning a week with a City & Guilds NVQ Level 1 in Hospitality.

MartecThe qualification is administered by Martec Training who were established in 1980 and specialise in the delivery of Apprenticeships and Vocational training through NVQs. Based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Martec Training is a registered centre for the delivery of City & Guilds and the Institute of Motor Industry qualifications, as well as being a leading training provider in Staffordshire. Martec Training have developed a format to support people with a learning disability to achieve academic qualifications.

The NVQ course has been specifically tailored to the needs of people with learning disabilities and incorporates a range of assessment techniques which help learners to amass their portfolio of evidence in a range of formats. Portfolios containing observation, questioning, photo evidence and video evidence gathering ensure the learners are given as much flexibility as possible to complete the course and demonstrate their skills and abilities.

4-workfit-nwThrough WorkFit, Sean began his work-based learning in July 2015 with the IHG Academy programme as a Breakfast Assistant.

Working as a breakfast assistant, Sean is making the most of this fantastic opportunity for work-based learning and is supported by his mentor Lydia and other colleagues to develop a range of skills in the hospitality industry.

Sean says, I like the job and the staff at the Holiday Inn and look forward to going there”.

Sean’s colleagues were keen to express their views about the programme: “Our experience to date has been amazing! To be able to offer Sean the chance to gain valuable work experience whilst working towards an NVQ fills us all with pride. He has fitted into the team really well and is apleasure to work with. He brings a smile to our faces and makes mornings fun! We are all looking forward to guiding Sean through this year.”  Beverley, Hotel Manager

 “WorkFit has had a hugely positive impact on Sean, myself and the entire hotel. It’s a fantastic programme that supports people like Sean to gain employment and training and offers employers access to a diverse and capable talent pool. I know Sean is really enjoying his job and has already learned some valuable skills. I am very grateful for the scheme as it has allowed me to gain additional, invaluable skills and actually furthered my professional career. Last but not least, it has enabled me to work with a fantastic new employee. Sean is one of the most popular members of the team and has had a really positive impact on everyone here.”Dennis, Guest Service Assistant

In addition to his work-based learning at the hotel, Sean is also studying for an entry level qualification in Catering through at college and is able to use his placement with IHG to support that qualification.

The IHG Academy provides local people with skills development and employment opportunities within one of the world’s largest hotel companies. Each IHG Academy is tailored to meet the needs of local communities and hotels (within a common framework).

All IHG Academy programmes have three things in common:

  • they operate in partnership with local community organisations and education providers
  • they include a work experience placement, giving participants skills and real experience of working in a hotel
  • they include performance feedback and a recruitment discussion, giving participants an opportunity to gain real experience of the job interview process, improving their chances of finding a job in the hotel sector and in many cases to secure a job in an IHG hotel


WorkFit supports people with Down’s syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives. For more information about WorkFit please contact the team on 0333 12 12 300 or email us on dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk

For more information visit the WorkFit website www.dsworkfit.org.uk