INTERNATIONAL REPORT—InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has entered into a global partnership with JA (Junior Achievement) Worldwide, a youth-serving NGO that focuses on preparing young people for future employment and entrepreneurship. The year-long partnership will support more than 750 young people as they gain skills and experience in hospitality in nine major markets around the world, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., France, Germany, UAE, Japan and China.
“We’re proud to be the first hospitality company working with JA Worldwide to inspire hundreds of young people to experience careers in the industry,” said Yasmin Diamond, EVP, global corporate affairs, IHG. “Our partnership demonstrates the real variety of opportunities that a career in the sector can bring, and it reflects IHG’s promise to provide true hospitality for everyone—which includes making a difference in our local communities all around the world. Together with JA, we’ll be able to give young people a close-up view of the variety of roles available in hospitality, together with the skills they will gain through different experiences and training.”
The partnership arrives ahead of 2019 United Nations World Tourism Day, themed this year around “tourism and jobs—a better future for all.” With the tourism industry generating one in 10 jobs worldwide, IHG’s partnership with JA reinforces its focus on ensuring that IHG continues to contribute towards the objectives of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, including goal number eight, which focuses on decent work and economic growth.
Asheesh Advani, CEO, JA Worldwide, commented: “Working with IHG gives JA the opportunity to engage our students with the hospitality industry, which we know offers rich and varied opportunities in the world of work. Just like IHG, JA is a global organization in more than 100 countries, and this sets us up well for what will be an inspiring and fruitful partnership that helps create pathways to employability and job creation in the tourism sector.”
Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO), commented: “The tourism sector is an integral part of the global development agenda, driving economic growth and creating jobs, in particular for women and youth. UNWTO believes that private sector cooperation is essential if we are to realize tourism’s true potential as a force for good. We warmly welcome this new initiative and are confident it will make a real difference to the lives of many young people. UNWTO also looks forward to working closely alongside IHG to create more and better opportunities for all.”
Gaining experience with IHG First Look
Working together with JA, IHG is developing a curriculum to run a hotel work experience event called IHG First Look, to provide young people typically aged 14-18 with the opportunity to receive hands-on experience working in a hotel. Combining classroom working and a practical hotel takeover, students will receive a close-up look at what a career in hospitality entails.
IHG has already debuted its First Look events, partnering with the local JA network in London, Atlanta and Dubai. Participants got placed into a variety of activities in IHG hotels to help them gain first-hand experience of the industry, as well as job shadow front-line roles.
Inspiring entrepreneurship with Innovation Camps
Building on the relationship, in early 2020, IHG and JA will run a set of innovation camps, which will focus on solving a sustainability-based problem core to the hospitality industry. Students who come up with the most innovative idea will enter a virtual global final—with scope for the winning idea to be implemented across IHG’s global hotel estate of more than 5,700 hotels.