Hospitality Academy offers training for London's rough sleepers

Saira Hospitality, a non-profit transforming the way hotels connect with local communities through education, has partnered with the Hotels with Heart Foundation to offer training for 20 rough sleepers while they are temporarily housed in St Giles Hotel in Bloomsbury, London. 

The initiative centres on a four-week hospitality school inside St Giles Hotel, which launched the Hotels with Heart Foundation in 2023 to give back to local communities.

Between 8 April and 3 May, 20 candidates will be trained on-site, enrolling in Saira Hospitality's life skills-focused curriculum that teaches communication, leadership, emotional intelligence and other essential life skills. 

New research from homeless charity Shelter shows that at least 271,000 people are recorded as homeless in England, including 123,000 children. The figure means one in 208 people across the country are without a home, with 2,400 sleeping rough on any given night. 

The Academy's evolution

The Academy marks a new milestone for Saira Hospitality, which brought its pop-up hospitality school concept to London in 2022 after seven years of operating in global destinations such as Namibia, Mexico, the BVI and the US. It also marks the first time that Saira has partnered directly with another non-profit organisation in the UK. 

Hotels with Heart is covering the cost of the programme via funds generated from the Regenerative Hospitality Campaign, which pledges to raise £1m to benefit local communities. 

The Academy combines classroom-based learning with experiential work placements with a group of leading hospitality employers in London that have pledged to support the initiative with workplace mentoring and guaranteed job interviews for candidates once the programme ends. These businesses include Z Hotels, Marriott, Pan Pacific and Accor.

Saira Hospitality and Hotels with Heart are actively looking for hospitality partners wishing to support the Academy, whether that be by offering work experience, job interviews or memorable experiences for candidates during the programme. 

The scheme also blends hospitality integration opportunities for its learners, many of whom have never stepped inside London's hospitality hotspots. These include a private dining experience hosted by Kerth Gumbs inside his restaurant Fenchurch at Skygarden. Students will also take a walking tour of Saira's hotel partners.

The Academy makes use of Saira Hospitality's global partnership with eCornell, the online learning platform for the hotel school at Cornell University, providing certified credentials to learners. 

A partnership with Vizzy, an online CV-alternative platform, also helps learners illustrate their personalities and experiences outside of the traditional CV format.

Greg Früchtenicht, COO of Saira Hospitality, believes the partnership can be scaled to provide maximum impact. He comments: "When reading the list of partners who are supporting this initiative, it's impossible not to be inspired by the generosity on show. From individual hospitality legends like Kerth Gumbs, to multinational hotel brands and, of course, St Giles Hotels, without whom this programme wouldn't be possible. We believe the greatest atrocities must be met with creative partnerships, and we're proud to be launching this programme, an initiative that we hope will be repeated in years to come."

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