Course to tackle isle skills shortage will launch at The Yarrow Hotel at East Kent College

Training at The Yarrow

The Yarrow Hotel in Broadstairs is launching a new course to tackle the skills gap in Thanet.

The Yarrow is the only commercial training hotel to be based on a college site in the UK after a £10million investment to renovate the building and open it in July last year.

The Yarrow

East Kent College has now developed a bespoke hotel management course after carrying out research that revealed a skills shortage in the area’s booming tourism sector.

The significant skills gap, coupled with growth in tourism, meant the college gaining backing from key stakeholders and funding for the hotel from the Skills Funding Agency.

The course

The hotel management course will include a combination of theory and practical work experience. Topics covered on the course could include: hotel operations; food and beverage management; customer experience; business models, and forms of ownership.

Catering students already enjoy work experience at The Yarrow together with expert tuition from head chef, Ben Williams, who is passionate about teaching learners the highest skills  to provide the local catering industry with the high-quality workforce they require.

The industry

After a decline in tourism during the ‘90s and ‘00s the number of hotels in the area fell dramatically but arts-based regeneration has seen the industry grow exponentially.

In the past five years new businesses such as Sands Hotel in Margate and The Albion in Ramsgate have opened to meet this growing demand.

Turner Contemporary and Dreamland have also prompted the growth of high-quality restaurants in east Kent.

This means a supply of highly-skilled staff is increasingly essential for local businesses to thrive.

Rob Kenyon, director of community services at Thanet District Council, said: “As the fastest-growing tourism destination in the UK, the demand for quality hotel and overnight accommodation in Thanet is rising rapidly. “Thanet District Council and East Kent College entered into a strategic partnership in 2016 as part of our joint commitment to help improve training and professional development.

“It’s great to see that East Kent College has not only established an award winning hotel, but is also investing in developing the skills that our island needs to create local jobs and to ensure we remain a first class visitor destination.”

Thanet’s booming tourist trade in numbers

Paul Manning, campus principal at the East Kent College site in Broadstairs, added: “Providing our students with career-relevant courses whilst providing them with a fantastic leaning experience is integral to the College. The outstanding facilities here will spearhead an innovative and highly-trained workforce for our local hospitality industry.”

The hotel management course will start this September. Find out more at

The Yarrow in numbers

1890s – convalescent home

World War One hospital

1960s – College

2011 – building in empty

2016 – It opens as the UK’s first further education hotel The Yarrow

The hotel has 28 beds and 5 suites

64 cover restaurant

50-person capacity bar

120 person capacity function room

Since opening 2,600 beds have been made

Income generated is £500,000

126 students in training so far

40 staff

Average age of staff is 28