ILT and the Southern Institute of Technology will collaborate with the aim of developing an exciting inner-city initiative.
The two organisations have agreed to join forces to investigate opportunities which would link the Kelvin Hotel and SIT’s proposed Kelvin Street Apartments to create a fully operational training hotel – the first of its kind in New Zealand.
SIT has previously announced concept plans to construct 47 apartments on the corner of Kelvin and Tay streets as part of the inner-city block redevelopment, which would neighbour ILT’s Kelvin Hotel complex.
ILT chairman Alan Dennis said it presented a valuable opportunity to form a partnership which could prove “hugely beneficial” for both organisations and the wider Southland community.
“Our aim would be to align the properties to create a training hotel and hospitality venue. It would add something really special to that corner,” Dennis said.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to partner with SIT which, like us, is an organisation with the community’s best interests at heart.
“Obviously there is a lot of work to do as we develop this concept further but we’re excited by its potential. As an ex-educator, I know the value initiatives like this can provide for the community.”
While the idea was first mooted some years ago, recent confirmation the CBD upgrade would go ahead enables it to progress to the next stage.
It was planned the Kelvin Hotel would remain operating as a fully-functioning hotel with ‘live’ training provided for SIT students.
“It would add incredible realism to their programmes and provide students with a ‘classroom’ like no other as they learn in a real hospitality environment,” Dennis said.
SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds welcomed the opportunity to again work in alliance with ILT.
“SIT, ILT and the ILT Foundation have worked collaboratively together for many years and this lays the foundation for another potential partnership between the Kelvin Hotel, the planned Kelvin St student apartments and the expansion of Hotel, Tourism and Hospitality training,” she said.
“It makes good sense for our iconic Invercargill institutions to be working together for the overall benefit of our community and we relish the opportunities that may come from this.” SIT chairman Peter heenen said.
ILT chief executive Chris Ramsay said the concept had many benefits for an organisation which employed over 700 staff.
“From our perspective, it certainly has the potential to be the start of a tangible career path for employees ranging from front of house to executive chefs,” he said.
“One of the biggest challenges in the hospitality industry is attracting and retaining good staff. This could also provide a great training facility for our existing staff who want to upskill or diversify their roles.”