The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has been given the go-ahead for a pioneering hotel and hotel school development in Edinburgh.

M&G Real Estate is funding the £350 million Haymarket Edinburgh development which will be developed by QMile Group.

The completed hotel will be operated by EICC under a franchise agreement with Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

The 362 bedroom, four star hotel will address conference demand issues for the EICC - which has hosted almost 1.5 million delegates at the conference centre venue since opening in 1995 - while it is claimed the hotel school will help address recruitment challenges faced by the hospitality industry in Scotland.

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Together, the hotel and hotel school are expected to provide significant job creation and economic benefit for the city.  

As an integral part of the hotel development a hotel school and training academy that will offer a career path for students and trainees while providing a pipeline of qualified people for Scotland’s leisure and tourism industry.

The hotel school will build close relationships with organisations including the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Edinburgh Hotels Association, British Hospitality Association, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland to ensure that the training offered matches the needs and recruitment challenges of the industry.  

The hotel school would operate a number of programmes at different academic levels, with the EICC envisaging that through interacting with different academic institutions it could run courses from NVQ level through to undergraduate and postgraduate degree curriculums.

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The EICC believes that by incorporating the hotel school into the hotel it will be creating a scenario where students would be working in a “live” operating environment.

Marshall Dallas, chief executive of the EICC, said: “The hotel and hotel school will take our fantastic venue to the next level on UK and international terms.

"EICC has had many supporters that have helped guide us through the last couple of years, taking the hotel project from the idea stage to a fully formed, robust, business case. Top of that list would be EICC’s board of directors, including our inspiring and tenacious chair, councillor George Gordon, and officers at the City of Edinburgh Council.”  

“We know the events industry is experiencing a skills gap that is only becoming more of an issue.

"The hotel and hotel school will go some way to alleviating that challenge while putting the EICC on an even stronger foot and keeping the venue at the forefront of Scotland’s overall proposition when it comes to business tourism.”  

Audrey Cumberford, principal and chief executive at Edinburgh College which has signed up as the college partner to the hotel school, said: “The hotel training academy creates a unique opportunity to lead on the delivery of future skills in the sector via a new model for industry-education collaboration and delivery.

"Importantly, the initiative enables us to create a pipeline of talent which speaks to key drivers for enterprise and skills development in the region.

"It is vital we create a range of bespoke programmes, meeting the needs of our business partner and our students, ranging from schools to full-time, part-time and apprenticeship opportunities."