Springboard Charity links up with CU Coventry to provide mentors for tourism students

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CU Coventry's tourism and hospitality students took part in the Springboard GEMS Programme, which matches students to mentors working in industry, to help them with career development.

Wednesday 11 March 2020


Coventry students recently threw themselves into a speed dating event on campus – but they were looking for something other than love.

Around 50 Tourism & Hospitality Management students at CU Coventry – part of the Coventry University Group – had several short, one-to-one interviews with seven ‘mentors’ in the industry, who were matched to students to help them with career development. 

The scheme, organised by The Springboard Charity as part of its ‘GEMS’ programme, aims to help young people studying hospitality courses have a better understanding of the industry and help support their transition at the early stages of their careers.   

The mentor will pair with a student for three years, and will provide advice and guidance about their career while they study and beyond graduation.

Mentors on the day were from a variety of top companies, including pub and restaurant managers Mitchells & Butlers, luxury hotel operator Hand Picked Hotels, hospitality and catering firm BaxterStorey, and drinks giant Diageo.

The programme also includes mentors from a huge range of tourism and hospitality disciplines and covers the whole of the UK.

The mentors will provide our students with much-needed guidance and support even after they’ve graduated.

Having a mentor gives our students added motivation and empowerment. They are able to hear about the reality of the business and see in a practical way how their studies are preparing them for employment.

We are really pleased to host these opportunities like this for our students, as it gives them a real advantage when it comes to carving out a successful career.

Events like these are a win-win - our students get to speak with and learn from a range of industry experts, and the mentors are able to establish links with the next generation of talent we’re nurturing here at CU Coventry.

Marion Greenhalgh, Course Leader for Tourism & Hospitality at CU Coventry

Once a student is paired with a mentor, they will meet quarterly to discuss their progress, as well as keep in regular contact between those meetings.

Jon Leverett, operations director at BaxterStorey, joined the mentoring scheme to share his career experiences with the next generation.

It is extremely rewarding to be part of the Springboard mentoring scheme and to introduce students to the opportunities available to them within hospitality.

It’s important that we continue to encourage more young talent into the industry, and it’s been very encouraging to speak with so many engaged students at CU Coventry.

I’m looking forward to supporting them over the next couple of years, as they begin what is hopefully a long and successful career in hospitality.

Jon Leverett, BaxterStorey

As part of the Springboard GEMS Programme, we work with undergraduates studying hospitality degrees at universities and colleges across the UK, to support them through their final years of university study and to support them into their transition into employment within the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry.

Research has shown that around 40 per cent of students studying a hospitality related degree do not go into the industry, but the Springboard GEMS Programme aims to change that and support the next generation of hospitality, leisure and tourism professional into a career within the industry.

I’m very pleased the students at CU Coventry found the day useful, and I hope their mentors help them go on to have a great career.

Kerry Mabbley, Programme Manager at Springboard
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