Dean Court Hotel School Taster Day

On 16th January 2020 the Dean Court Hotel hosted 7 students on a year 11 taster day on behalf of HAY. Students from the following 5 schools : Millthorpe, Fulford, Huntington, Manor Church of England Academy and All Saints RC joined the team at Dean Court Hotel for a series of mini masterclasses which gave the students a little insight of what is involved in working in one of York’s top hotels.

One of the values in which HAY promote is to create, develop and nurture links to local Schools, Colleges and Universities through industry promotion, work placements, interactive days, job workshops and Aspirational Fayres. This project was designed to educate the students about what hotel life is about but remain fun and enjoyable for all involved.

The students had a hands-on experience within key departments such as housekeeping, reception, food and beverage and the kitchen as well as having a tour of the hotel which involved viewing many of the bedrooms.

Steve Bailey, general manager of the hotel arranged the day with Melody Hardcastle from the city of York council and said “ we have listened to the feedback of many students who have had their work experience here over the years and ultimately produced a more concentrated and engaging experience which has proved extremely successful, it has been more beneficial to the students and to the staff, I have to give credit to the team that helped at the hotel for delivering an exciting and interactive work experience: head chef Benji Thornton, housekeeper Marjorie Macintosh, F&B supervisor Alison Walker and our events co-ordinator and co-host on the day Rebecca Hardcastle. This exercise was a new one but after gathering the feedback from all involved, I feel that is the most productive and enjoyable work experience that we have ever done.”

Before the students departed, they were asked to fill in some questionnaires on behalf of York City council and below is a summary of some of their answers

Q1 What were your thoughts on the practical activity?

“Fun & very engaging”

“Informative & realistic”

“Great experience, added knowledge to catering via head chef”

“They were good”

“Liked it”

“Was really good seeing what it was like”


Q2 How has the taster day impacted your thoughts on apprenticeships?  Are you more likely to apply for an apprenticeship after leaving school?

100% of the students said yes

“this has let me know that I’m very interested in doing an apprenticeship in cooking”

“I am more likely to choose apprenticeships”

“I am more likely to apply”

“Because you get the chance to see the industry”

Q3 Would you recommend the taster day to someone else?

100% of the students said yes

Q4 On a scale of 1 – 10 How much did the taster day benefit you?

1 person scored 8

2 people scored 9 

4 people scored 10

Q5 Which sector are you interested in (27 options)

Hospitality catering x 5 from 7

hospitality hotels x 6 from 7

travel & tourism x 1 from 7

animal care x 1 from 7

agriculture x 1 from 7

some students ticked more than once on question 5

After reviewing the feedback what was encouraging was that all the students except one expressed an interest in working in this sector, all of them would recommend this taster day to somebody else and all have expressed an interest in applying for an apprenticeship.

Rebecca Hardcastle offering insight into the check in/booking procedure
GM Steve Bailey highlighting key attributes of a successful employee
Head chef Benji Thornton looking out for his next apprentice
Eva, Isabel and Liberty presenting their dishes
Harry, Hermonie, Evan and Katie with their works of art
The students going through various table layouts and the importance of consistency
Marjorie Mackintosh highlighting the importance of impeccable standards

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