The Blue Mountains has just become the home of Australia’s first social enterprise hotel. Hotel Etico at Mount Victoria Manor opened in November and its purpose is to deliver fantastic holiday experiences to guests that power a program providing work, training and live-in opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities, enabling them to transition to open employment and become more independent.
Niccolò didn’t know it at the time but his dream became the inspiration that transformed his wish to a reality. The first Hotel Etico (Albergo Etico), opened in his home town of Asti in the north of Italy in 2015 and by the end of 2020 there will be 6 hotels open worldwide with more opening in 2021. Across the operating hotels, 80 hospitality interns are in training and 184 have graduated with 68% of them moving on to open employment. Hotel Etico Australia follows the success of its European counterparts by adapting the Albergo Etico business model to the Australian context.
Hotel Etico’s trainee program is based on a wholistic model of learning over 12 months through on-the-job training and coaching in life skills that facilitates a pathway to open employment. At the core of the training program is the Academy of Independence, a trainee residence that will provide a peer-based, supportive setting to experience independent living.
Recruitment for the inaugural group of trainees takes place this month with commencement aimed for February 2021. Hotel Etico’s in-house restaurant, Niccoló’s Restaurant and Bar is schedule to open in March 2021.