Media Release: Stevenson College Edinburgh partners with Harvey Nichols

STEVENSON College Edinburgh is working in partnership with Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh.

This new and exciting partnership will launch an innovative programme to improve international customer service in retail and hospitality across Edinburgh.

It is widely accepted that enhanced and inclusive customer service will ultimately contribute to the overall economic impact on the city, especially in advance of major international events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.

The first initiative will see Stevenson and Harvey Nichols launch a programme of international language classes for retail and hospitality staff, starting with Spanish.

It is reported that approximately 115,000 Spanish speaking customers visit Edinburgh every year with turnover of approximately £35 million.

In advance of international events such as the 2012 and 2014 Olympic and Commonwealth Games along with the Scottish Cultural Olympiad, there is a high expectation that Scotland and indeed Edinburgh will accommodate a high number of overseas visitors with little or no English, this partnership provides particular advantages to the economy, specifically the retail and hospitality sectors.

Gordon Drummond, director, Harvey Nichols Regional Stores Ltd, said:

“Harvey Nichols is delighted to be working with Stevenson College Edinburgh on this great opportunity to provide tuition in Spanish to a wider audience in the City. Within the store, we have staff who between them can speak almost 20 languages and we’ve found this really useful for enhancing our customer services.

“Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world so starting the programme here seems logical.”

The language programme will run for ten consecutive weeks and be delivered by Stevenson College staff in the Harvey Nichols training facility in St Andrew’s Square.

The course will provide basic language skills to enhance the customer experience, covering words and phrases required to assist customers in their decision making.

Alison Chambers, associate principal, Business Administration & Languages at Stevenson, said:

“Our partnership with Harvey Nichols serves to highlight the importance of customer service to the tourist industry. In Scotland, language learning has been in decline for some years.

“At Stevenson, we are passionate about languages and about keeping languages alive and part of the educational curriculum at all levels. As an international college that enrols over 16,000 students from the UK and all over the world, we are eager to enhance our country’s culture of which we are intensely proud.

“This programme, combining customer service with languages, seeks to do just that: to make the foreign visitors’ experience in Scottish retail and hospitality first class; and to make the tourist feel welcomed and cared for.”

The project will be ongoing, covering a variety of different languages identified as being the most valuable in terms of international turnover.

The first programme is scheduled to begin on Tuesday 22nd March and is eligible for ILA funding.

For further information, please contact Andy Campbell at Stevenson on 0131 535 4800.

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Contact: Joe West
Phone: 0131 535 4600