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Please refer to the ‘2015 Guidance for Applicants’

before completing this application form.
The application form is split over four sections. It is up to you to decide the content and length of each section, but your application must not exceed three pages in total (excluding the cover pages).

Please ensure that your application covers the key criteria that we are looking for and is effectively presented. Any questions relating to your application or the submission process should be directed to or 0131 474 9275.

The deadline for submission of entries is 5pm on Friday 24 October 2014.

Submitting Your Application Form

Please use our online application portal to submit this application form.



Category 1: Service innovation & improvement


(as you wish to see it published)

East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy


East Lothian Council




East Lothian Council: Education Service

Queen Margaret University

Edinburgh College

East Lothian Council: Economic Development and Strategic Investments

East Lothian Works


Paolo Vestri


01620 827320




In one short paragraph please describe this project is about, what it has achieved, and why it is delivering excellence.

What started as a trial project with three East Lothian secondary schools has now grown into a unique and highly successful partnership involving Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh College, Borders College, four local authorities and industry partners. This model has allowed further expansion of this innovative idea. The Hospitality and Tourism Academy started in 2012 with the aim of providing academic qualifications and experience to enable young people to benefit from a positive destination, as well as smoothing the transition between school, college, university and work and raising standards within the industry. The South East Scotland Academies Project now offers four academies for young people. The more recent additions are academies for the Creative Industries, Food Science and Nutrition, and Health and Social Care.


What is your project about, and why is it important? What are you aiming to achieve, and how does this fit with the bigger picture? Does it tackle the issues that matter most to your community or your organisation?  

The Academies Programme has been driven by the need identified by our Education team, our young people and the industry for more specialist skills based learning programmes for young people in the Senior Phase. Young people were very keen to have more contact with employers while at school and more opportunities for extended work placements, allied to their chosen career paths. We want as many of our young people as possible to achieve positive destinations when they leave school. The most efficient way of doing this is to listen to what the employers want and seeing how, if at all possible, we can deliver it, within the framework of the Curriculum for Excellence. That is why the Council made its initial approaches to Queen Margaret and the Edinburgh colleges and employers in 2011.

The Hospitality and Tourism Academy is helping to smooth the transition between school, college, university and work, in addition to providing planned positive destinations. Research with local employers, undertaken as part of our economic development strategy, indicated that employers in the increasingly competitive hospitality and tourism sector want young people to be skilled and work-ready. Our research with young people, through initiatives such as our school’s Listen and Learn programme, indicated that many young people want a more skills-focused introduction to work and learning, and the ability to plan their own career rather than ‘falling into the role’.

The Academies programme also sits well with two key themes in our Council Plan:

  • Growing our Economy – to increase sustainable economic growth as the basis for a more prosperous East Lothian

  • Growing our People – to give our children the best start in life and protect vulnerable and older people.

It helps to deliver the aims of our Single Outcome Agreement; an East Lothian that has:

  • A sustainable economy

  • Resilient people

  • Safe and vibrant communities.

It is also meets the Scottish Government's long term aim of enabling all young people to access and progress in learning and to equip them with the skills for learning, life and work – to participate and progress, where possible, to employment – see Action for Jobs: Supporting Young Scots into Work: Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy (2012).


How have you carried out your project? How did you ensure that this was done effectively? What are you doing to continue to improve?

2012-13 was the first year of this highly successful skills development initiative for pupils aged 16 - 18. Key partners in East Lothian Council and its schools, Edinburgh College, Queen Margaret University (QMU) and a number of hotel groups have delivered the Academy initiative. The partnership initially worked with pupils from Ross High (Tranent), Knox Academy (Haddington) and North Berwick High School. The Academy pupils attended relevant ‘vocational’ hospitality and tourism related courses at either QMU or Edinburgh College.

Industry partners give Academy pupils a vital insight into the inner workings of the hospitality industry. Backing the project are some of the world’s most significant industry players – Marriott and Novotel signed up as business partners, as did Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, Jurys Inn, Mercure and Best Western Edinburgh Capital Hotel. Representing the local market, one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious hotel organisations, Prestonfield, pledged support, as did Fraser Suites Edinburgh. The list of industry partners is growing as more companies recognise the benefit of being an industry partner.

The aim of the Academy programme is smooth the path from school to college and university, opening up opportunities for those who initially might never have considered themselves as college or university material, or qualifying them for their chosen career at age 18. The full programme is two years, but even after successfully completing year 1, students can choose to move seamlessly from school to college or into industry. Following successful completion of the full two year programme, 6th year pupils can gain direct entry to a specified university course at QMU, choose to study at Edinburgh College or progress work opportunities within the hospitality and tourism industry.

In its first year, 30 of the 34 students successfully completed HNC modules as well as employability modules. Of the 30 successful students, 18 moved on to study the HNC in 2013-14 while still at school, four progressed to Edinburgh College to study SVQ2 Professional Cookery and eight moved into employment. The ELHTA presents outstanding learning opportunities for Scotland’s young people, equips students for real jobs and develops a young workforce which will help raise standards in some of Scotland’s key hospitality industry.


Why is your project innovative? How is it helping to prepare for the future? What is happening to help other organisations benefit from your approach?

The key to the model's success is true collaborative working and the involvement of key industry partners, together with a genuine desire to plug an identified gap. The Academy model has now been recognised as an initiative which will deliver real solutions for young people across Scotland, and, as a result, has secured £4.6m funding from the Scottish Funding Council to roll out the model to a wider catchment area and to establish new academies in different subjects. The SFC backed the development of three new academies in Creative Industries, Food Science and Nutrition and Health and Social Care. These academies have been rolled out for 2013-14 to more schools in East Lothian, as well as Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. All the Academies now come under the umbrella of the South East Scotland Academies Partnership which is spearheaded by Edinburgh College and QMU in collaboration with local authorities and industry partners. Our Head of Education and one of the founding headteachers sit on the Strategic Board.

Darrin Nightingale, Head of Education at East Lothian Council, said: ‘The Academies are highly rated by our young people and employers and we are proud to have led the way on the ground-breaking initiative which is already providing positive outcomes for young people in East Lothian and will soon be making a major impact on young people’s employability at a national level.’

Ray McCowan, Vice-Principal at Edinburgh College, said: ‘We are delighted that some of Scotland’s most prominent hoteliers, as well as the international hotel groups, are working with the Academy. They are vital in helping us bring the hospitality and tourism industries to life for the young people. By offering work placements and providing industry professionals to speak about their roles, they play an important part in inspiring and informing pupils about the opportunities in hospitality and tourism industries, not only in Scotland but also globally. One of the wonderful results of the Academy is that students hardly see a distinction between school, college and university. During their first year with the Academy they have taken classes at their school as well as weekly classes at Edinburgh College and QMU, so they don't view the jump to college or university as an issue. That smooth transition improves opportunities for our young people, especially those who initially might never have considered themselves as college or university material.’

Alan Gilloran, Vice Principal at Queen Margaret University commented: ‘The East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy demonstrates partnership working at its very best and highlights that by thinking outside the box, different pathways into work, college or university are now possible for a wide variety of talented young people.’


What impact are you having, or expect to have? How are you measuring this, and what does this tell you? Are you delivering what you set out to achieve?

Most of the young people from the first year committed to staying on to complete the 2nd year of the Hospitality and Tourism programme. However, 16 year old Liam Reilly, from Ross High, opted to leave after year 1, knowing that the skills and knowledge already gained during the Academy will open the right doors. One year's successful Academy completion guaranteed his place on the SVQ 2 Professional Cookery course at Edinburgh College. He said: ‘Even though I already knew I wanted to be a chef, I am now aware of other opportunities within the entire hospitality industry. The practical skills training through the Academy has been amazing.’

Other Academy students completed the final year of the two year Academy programme which they undertook over and above their 6th year school commitments. Some have their sights set on a direct entry place on the 2nd year of the BA (Hons) International Hospitality Management programme at Queen Margaret University, while others may use the transferable skills they have gained during their time with the Academy to pursue other educational or work opportunities.

16 year old Lauren Cain from Musselburgh Grammar commented: ‘The Academy is definitely giving me ideas about what I might choose to do in the future. I know that because of my time at the Academy, I've got options that I wouldn't have had, had I not taken part.’ Lauren has had many different learning experiences over the last year. These have included addressing 100 guests at the Academy's reception in the Scottish Parliament; spending time at Novotel, one of the Academy's hotel partners; and competing in the national ScotHot hospitality championships at SECC.

Around 450 old pupils from Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders have secured their place in Academies; boosting their educational and career opportunities. In just two years, the academies project has grown from 34 young people from three East Lothian schools to 450 pupils from over 50 schools in Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders.

The success of the Hospitality and Tourism Academy is already meeting our SOA aims of an East Lothian that has:

  • A sustainable economy – food, hospitality and tourism are vital to our economy

  • Resilient people – we are developing young people who make choices, travel independently, manage their own time and learning

  • Safe and vibrant communities – we are equipping our young people for future careers potentially in the communities that served them well while they were growing up.

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