TORONTO — Be Our Guest — a Toronto-based education program inspiring highschool co-op students with unique hospitality training opportunities — is expanding through a new partnership with the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB).
Designed by a group of Toronto’s leading hospitality experts in collaboration with local school boards, Be Our Guest launched in 2017 at George Brown College with the support of like-minded leaders, colleagues, and educators to create a unique co-op program for highschool students that provides invaluable access into the exciting world of hospitality and tourism.
This year, Friday Harbour Resort, along with the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North and the Best Western Parkway Toronto North, joined The Hazelton Hotel, The Hilton Toronto Hotel, The Metro Toronto Convention Centre, The InterContinental Toronto Centre, and the Fairmont Royal York Hotel to team up with George Brown College, and the Ontario Hotel & Restaurant Association (ORHMA) and welcome 20 highschool co-op students through their doors.
“The resilience of the industry, our partners, and our incredible co-op students never ceases to amaze me,” says Hani Roustom, CEO of Friday Harbour Resort and program co-founder. “Each year, we witness first-hand how the Be Our Guest program changes the perspectives and career paths of these aspiring hoteliers.”
Tony Elenis, president and CEO of ORHMA & OHI, adds “travel and tourism are enjoying a revived resurgence, and it has never been a more exciting place to work. I welcome and thank the program’s new partners for their belief and support of the program’s purpose and vision.”
Since its inception in 2017, the Be Our Guest initiative has inspired Canadian hospitality leaders, demonstrating a viable way to engage our youth, introducing hospitality as an exciting career path. In today’s current war for talent, engaging in out-of-the-box recruitment and training approaches is more important than ever.
“We are grateful for this exciting partnership,” says Silvio Bin, Cooperative Education Coordinator for the Simcoe County District School Board. “Programs such as Be Our Guest prepare students for a career in the hospitality and tourism sector by providing real-life, hands-on experiences, training, industry exposure and insight. When employers recognize the need to support the learning and growth of students, it’s mutually beneficial. The students gain valuable experience while earning credits towards their secondary school diploma, and employers benefit from opportunities to train and recruit the talent required for their workforce.”