BOURNEMOUTH’S hotel industry is set to provide scores of new apprenticeships.

The trade will gather on April 2 for The Big Conversation, an event which brings together potential apprentices with hoteliers.

Samantha Richardson, director of the town’s National Coastal Tourism Academy, said: “Apprenticeships are a great way for young people and adult learners to earn while gaining skills in a real job, so it’s very encouraging to see a number of local tourism businesses employing apprentices.

“But it also makes sound business sense. Apprenticeships allow employers to introduce new skills and cross-train existing staff, to keep on top of the latest industry standards and increase productivity. What’s more, the Government is providing solid financial help as well as support from training organisations. One hundred per cent of training costs are offered for 16 to 18 year olds, 50 per cent for 19 to 24 year olds.”

A number of hotels in the town already offer apprenticeships, including the Miramar, the Queens Hotel, the Green House and the Premier Inn.

The Premier Inn, which is hosting the Big Conversation event, has announced the creation of 14 apprenticeships in Bournemouth and Poole for 2014. A team of 11 are graduating having completed the course.

Gina Kitchener, graduating apprentice from Premier Inn Bournemouth Central, said: “I found the apprenticeship to be most rewarding.

“It developed my presentation skills and definitely boosted my confidence.

“I felt supported and praised throughout the year and the benefits keep on coming.

“I am now trained in multiple departments throughout my hotel, which not only helps me but also helps the business.

“Now I’ve finished the course, I am taking part in Premier Inn’s own management course.”

Ed Pyke, Premier Inn cluster general manager, said: “Applicants spend time in all sectors of the hotel to gain maximum experience and relevant qualifications while earning a competitive wage. “We see apprentices as the future managers of our businesses.”

The Green House Hotel recruited Rhianne Vare in January this year as an apprentice housekeeper. She said: “At first I was really nervous about how it was going to be in my first role but after being here a few weeks, everyone was so nice and friendly which made life easier."