Press Releases

Edge Hotel School welcomes new partner

Jul. 27, 2011

The transformation of an eighteenth century country house into the UK’s first hotel school based entirely in a fully operational hotel is gathering pace this summer.

Wivenhoe House in Colchester is currently undergoing a £10 million refurbishment and will open next year. It will combine a luxurious country house hotel and innovative hotel school, where the future leaders of the hospitality industry will learn their profession.

The Edge Hotel School, a partnership between the independent education foundation Edge and the University of Essex, today announced that the hospitality education would be provided by the University’s academic partner Kaplan Open Learning.

The practical and vocational learning, gained entirely within the hotel, will lead to work based fast-track degree-level qualifications in hotel management and culinary arts.

The unique programmes will be delivered by academic and industry experts, allowing students to graduate within two years equipped with the skills and experience employers want. The Edge Hotel School is working closely with key partners in the hospitality industry to ensure the education is relevant, up-to-date and reflects the needs of the industry.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, Professor Colin Riordan, said: “This extension of our existing partnership with Kaplan Open Learning enables us to deliver innovative, high quality hospitality education within the working environment of the hotel. Together we will develop a new flexible learning model which combines academic quality with employability.”

Alan Jenkins, Kaplan Director responsible for hospitality programmes, said: “We are delighted to extend our excellent partnership with the University of Essex and to join Edge in developing this innovative two-year programme.  Students will earn both a BA (Hons) and a qualification accredited by the Institute of Hospitality, giving them excellent career prospects. The programme integrates theory with practice-based learning and students will have a unique opportunity to work in the School’s luxurious country house hotel, equipping them with the skills needed in a diverse and changing industry.”

Refurbishment of the Grade II listed Wivenhoe House, which will restore much of its Georgian and Victorian finery and provide 16 individual suites and bedrooms, is progressing. Demolition of the 1980s extension has also commenced, making way for a new garden wing with a further 24 bedrooms, a bar and brasserie for up to 100 people and conference and meeting rooms. To link the historic house with the new wing the design takes the form of a Victorian garden wall, viewed from the outside, while internally it comprises a long gallery.

Notes to Editors

1. Patrons, members of the Edge Hotel School Board, and potential industry sponsors visited Wivenhoe House recently to see the progress of the restoration works and hear more about the new hotel school development. Photos of the visit are available from the University Communications Office, telephone: 01206 872400, e-mail: comms@essex.ac.uk.

2. About Kaplan Open Learning: Kaplan Open Learning (KOL) is a partnership between education and training company Kaplan and the University of Essex and offers degree courses entirely online. The hospitality courses offered through the Edge Hotel School will be KOL’s first on-site programmes. Online courses on offer include Business Studies, Financial Services and Criminal Justice. Scheduled online classes connect staff and students through both live audio and chat rooms to encourage active discussion and interactive learning in real time. The courses offer multiple start dates throughout the year with a continuous 52-week academic calendar, and allow students to study wherever they have access to the internet. The Foundation degree is awarded by the University of Essex and a third year course can be taken that leads to the award of a BA (Hons) by the University. For further information, please contact Elizabeth Hess, Director of Communications, Kaplan Europe, on 020 7645 8968, e-mail: Elizabeth.hess@kaplan.com.

3. About Edge: Edge is an independent education foundation. It is dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning, so that all young people have the opportunity to achieve their potential, and the UK’s future workforce is equipped with the skills to be successful in the modern economy. Edge believes that ‘learning by doing’ is as important as academic learning, and that there are many paths to success. For more information visit www.edge.co.uk. For further information please contact Susan Higgins, Press Officer , on 020 7960 1546, e-mail: SHiggins@edge.co.uk.

4. About the University of Essex: The University of Essex, founded in 1964, is one of the UK’s leading academic institutions and the most internationally diverse campus-based university in Britain. It was ranked 9th in the UK in The Times research league tables following the last national research quality assessment, and 16th in England for student satisfaction, according to the National Student Survey for 2010. The University has three campuses in Essex, and partnerships with a number of other education institutions across the region. For further information, please contact Jenny Grinter, Head of Communications on 01206 872400, e-mail: comms@essex.ac.uk.

Press contacts:

Elizabeth Hess Director of Communications, Kaplan Europe,
Office: 020 7645 8968
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