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Wivenhoe House: Putting education into practice

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Wivenhoe Edge Hotel- University of Essex’s Colchester campus

A £10 million project to refurbish Wivenhoe House – in order to create a boutique hotel and world class training facility – has reached completion.

Based in Colchester, Wivenhoe House is a Grade II* Listed hotel building sited on the University of Essex’s Colchester campus. In addition to the grand 18th Century building the site houses the Edge Hotel School – the UK’s first hotel school.

Wivenhoe House Edge Hotel- University of Essex’s Colchester campus

The hotel school is a new concept and is modelled on similar schools in Europe and the USA. Based alongside a sustainable commercial hotel, The Edge Hotel School offers world class education and training facilities, designed to educate the future leaders of the hospitality industry.

Wivenhoe House Edge Hotel- University of Essex’s Colchester campus

The Wivenhoe House refurbishment project comprised the extensive reworking of the site, which included the creation of 16 period suites and a signature restaurant, as well as the installation of 24 bedrooms, a bar and brasserie within the new Garden Wing.

Wivenhoe House Edge Hotel- University of Essex’s Colchester campus

Leading building and civil engineering contractor John Paul Construction was the main contractor on the project, whilst Bond Bryan Architects provided all architectural services. A.P.C Interiors & Flooring Ltd was responsible for the interior and flooring works on the site.

A.P.C Interiors & Flooring Ltd Director, Steve Preston, said:

“We are a company which bases its self on being a high end suppler and installer of all types of floor coverings, from domestic dwellings, though to the commercial sector. We have over the years played a big part in undertaking international projects as well as our domestic UK market, in countries such as; Turku Finland (Crystal Symphony, California Cruise), Al-arts Hotel in Barcelona Spain for the Olympics, and secured 5 year flooring projects in Kiev Ukraine via Noble Construction, Meridian Hotel Kuwait City.

Wivenhoe House Edge Hotel- University of Essex’s Colchester campus

“We take on the projects all the others can’t do and we make them happen.”

A key feature of Wivenhoe House site is the Edge Hotel School. The hotel school is a unique facility in the UK and provides students with the opportunity to learn important people skills – a key tool for the hospitality industry – alongside the opportunity to achieve degree qualifications.

A full range of vocational training programmes are on offer, including further education, foundation and undergraduate degrees.

In addition to their academic studies, students work alongside industry professionals whilst operating in ‘Butler Teams’ to experience all operational aspects of a commercial hotel. Students will then leave the Edge Hotel School after two years with a fast track qualification in hotel management or culinary management alongside invaluable ‘work ready’ skills.

Wivenhoe House Edge Hotel- University of Essex’s Colchester campus

The Edge Hotel School is a partnership between Edge – a lead partner in the National Skills Academy for Hospitality – the University of Essex and their academic partner Kaplan. The unique initiative has been widely supported by the hospitality industry, which has been heavily involved in the development of the curriculum.

Commenting on the unique site, Vice Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan, said:

“This innovative partnership provides new opportunities for top class vocational training in Colchester, as well as providing a superb facility for University visitors.”

Wivenhoe House Edge Hotel- University of Essex’s Colchester campus

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent KG officially opened Wivenhoe House and the Edge Hotel School on Thursday 20th September 2012 by. During the official opening the Duke of Kent took a tour of the site and met site partners and students, along with Wivenhoe House General Manager Stephen Mannock.

Wivenhoe House Edge Hotel- University of Essex’s Colchester campus

The first students to attend Edge Hotel School arrived in July and were involved in the grand opening of the new hotel. The next student intake for Edge Hotel School is January 2013.

To find out more about studying at the Edge Hotel School please visit: Alternatively, if you would like more information about staying at Wivenhoe House, please visit:

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