The hospitality industry can look forward to having a brand-new integrated institute in Hinton.
The Centre for Hospitality Studies and Research (CHSR) has plans to break ground on phase one of the $45 to $50 million project by this September.
Once completed, it will house 20 classrooms in a teaching hotel format where potentially several hundred students at a time can learn and practice their studies in the same day and in the same building.
“Their initial training and orientation will be within our own walls. That provides us with the advantage of ensuring the link between what’s happening in the classroom and what’s happening in the real world, i.e., in the hotel that’s right there,” said Walter Jamieson, the centre’s CEO and director.
There are very few similar opportunities anywhere in the world, he added. The plan is to incorporate the centre into the communities it serves.
“It’s very much a development-oriented approach that we’re taking,” Jamieson said.
The plan is to offer diploma and degree programs where students will have “labs” where they get internships with hotels in the communities, including Jasper. The centre will also offer work placements and conduct industry research.
This approach is different from other hospitality training centers as it is more closely tied to the industry. The CHSR’s ideal student is a person who wants to make hospitality their lifelong career, especially those who are just out of high school and looking to the future.
“It allows them to quickly acquire the set of skills and knowledge and mindset to be able to compete in the job market, and I don’t mean compete just for any job, but for responsible jobs in hospitality,” he said.
At the same time, the centre will also offer professional development training for current hospitality workers who feel that they could benefit from developing their knowledge and skillset to make them more effective and successful in the industry.
“We listen very carefully to the industry in terms of what they feel are required for people working in their hotels and restaurants,” Jamieson said.
Right now, the centre is approaching hotels in Edson, Hinton and Jasper to look for feedback on its curriculum while also gauging their interest in establishing partnerships. Jamieson said that there’s a strong need to see every hotel in the region as a partner.
Currently, the centre operates out of an existing educational building in Hinton. That facility is currently being retrofitted with audiovisual equipment and other technology to facilitate distance learning opportunities.
“We are striving to demonstrate – not only from our curriculum but the way that we’ve designed in the kind of technology – what the future of hospitality education looks like,” Jamieson said.
The CHSR will be hosting an event called Reimagining Main Street Through a Visitor Economy Lens that will look at how communities can ensure that their visitor economy can help them to meet their own economic, social, and environmental goals.
The objective of the daylong program will be to look closer at how the main street is the face of the community and examine ways to put those best faces forward for maximum effect.
By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 08, 2023
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