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A cooperative education experiential learning program 

for secondary school students outside the classroom

BE OUR GUEST immerses secondary school students in a learning experience where they are active participants in hospitality communities outside the school. It provides students thinking about their future career path with an opportunity to apply their learning and be exposed to various jobs in hospitality.


A hotel or foodservice company agrees to provide a placement experience and designates an employee to supervise the learning. A scheduled interview determines the student’s acceptance by the organization. Work schedules are based on the student’s timetable and the time of year of their eligibility for the placement.

The placement students are typically in the senior grades and have a post-secondary pathway such as; college, apprenticeship, university, or work. Placement learning opportunities are linked with a student’s academic studies, education plan, personal goals and abilities through a Student Cooperative Education Learning Plan co-developed by the student, teacher, and with input from the placement supervisor.

Learning & Training

The Learning Plan helps students determine the types of learning opportunities (i.e., tasks, activities) in which they will participate, where those opportunities will occur, experience timelines, resources required, and the nature and extent of support and feedback the students will need. Learning Plan development is a dynamic process with ongoing review throughout the placement experience. Student progress is monitored regularly by the teacher and supervisor to support student learning and achievement.

Benefits of BE OUR GUEST

BE OUR GUEST was founded in 2017 by a group of innovative hospitality leaders that took the first step to design and launch the experiential student program in Toronto District School Board (TDSB) secondary schools. BE OUR GUEST operates through the collaboration of Ontario school boards, hospitality organizations and OHI – We Are Hospitality. Hundreds of students are graduates of the BE OUR GUEST program and many have become employed in the numerous career opportunities within the hospitality industry and developed transferrable skills to take them into varied occupations.

For Teachers: 

  • Be involved in providing students with life-changing, hands-on work experiences 

  • Prepare students for a transition to the workplace

  • Increase student soft skills development that leads to confidence and problem-solving

  • Provide the opportunity for students to observe the hard skills of a trained professional 

  • Assist students in meeting potential employers 

  • Enhance acceptance of students' options into post-secondary and training programs

For Students: 

  • Explore career choices in hospitality through real-world work experience in varied hotel or food service departments (front desk, back of house, kitchen, finance, executive management, etc.) 

  • Increase awareness of workplace demands and needs 

  • Develop transferable employment skills 

  • Apply classroom learning to workplace experiences 

  • Earn credits for secondary school diploma 

  • Build a network for future employment  

  • Provide a smoother school-to-work transition 

  • Enhance acceptance possibilities to post-secondary or training programs

For Hospitality Placement Supervisors: 

  • Provide students with rich, relevant experiences

  • Develop supervisory skills through personal leadership growth 

  • Share expertise, knowledge and skills 

  • Promote awareness of job opportunities in the hospitality industry

  • Mentor and inspire students as they develop career/life goals 

  • Contribute to students’ education and Ontario’s future workforce needs

Interested in bringing the Be Our Guest program to your school or being an OHI hotel or food service partner?  

Contact for more information.

Be Our Guest Graduate

“I learned things about
the hospitality industry I
didn’t know before!”

Be Our Guest Graduate

“After taking the Be Our
Guest Program, I have
more confidence and I
feel ready to get a job in

Be Our Guest Graduate

“Before taking the Be
Our Guest Program, I
did not know the
hospitality industry was
so exciting!"
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