University of Sunderland and NEHA celebrate success of first Hospitality Mentor Programme

The University of Sunderland and the North East Hoteliers Association (NEHA) are celebrating the successful completion of the inaugural Hospitality Mentor Programme, which provided opportunities for students to gain valuable insights and guidance from seasoned professionals.

The programme, launched in January 2023, was designed to connect International Hospitality and Tourism students – later expanded to include Event Management students – with experienced hoteliers from some of the region’s most prestigious hotels, including the Maldron Hotel and Holiday Inn Gosforth Park. The mentors, including Anna Wadcock, Sarah Harrison, Paul Borg, Norrie Oswald, Lisa Crocker, Paul Mandier, and Carlo Lulianella from NEHA along with a group of general managers, offered their time to support students throughout the programme.

The aim of the programme was to equip students with practical knowledge and experience that would help them excel in their careers and navigate the transition from education to employment. By collaborating with NEHA, the University of Sunderland provided students with a unique opportunity to network with industry leaders, learn about various career paths, and acquire valuable skills.

Serkan Uzunogullari, programme leader for BSc (Hons) International Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of Sunderland, said: “The Hospitality Mentor Programme is a testament to our university’s commitment to producing graduates who are well-prepared for success in their careers. We are grateful to NEHA and the dedicated mentors for their invaluable support in nurturing our students and preparing them for the competitive job market.”

One of the participating students, Mustafa Zahid Lukmanjee, added: “The Hospitality Mentor Programme has been an amazing opportunity for me, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. Meeting experienced general managers from various hotels in the North East and learning about the inner workings of the industry has been invaluable. I am excited to continue the programme and further enhance my knowledge about the hospitality sector.”

In addition to providing students with mentorship, the programme also played a significant role in supporting the hospitality industry’s post-Covid labour shortage. By fostering partnerships between students and established professionals, the initiative aimed to encourage more talented individuals to pursue careers in the industry.

Anna Wadcock, co-chair of NEHA, said: “We are delighted to have teamed up with the University of Sunderland in delivering the first Hospitality Mentor Programme. This partnership marks the beginning of a lasting relationship between the North East Hotels Association and the university, with the aim of nurturing future stars of hospitality. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the experienced general managers who selflessly shared their knowledge and experiences with the students. Together, we are shaping a fantastic career path for these bright individuals within our amazing industry.”

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