Hospitality placement leads to graduate role
International Hospitality Management BA(Hons) student Andrew Selwyn was so impressive during his placement year that a new post was created just for him! He tells us about his placement experience and his new role:
“One of the reasons I decided to come to study in Eastbourne was because of the Culinary Arts Studio (CAS). It was the one memory I can remember vividly from my open day. I had wanted to be a chef before some college work experience changed my mind, but I still wanted to stay working with food, so the course was perfect and the idea I could still incorporate a bit of cooking was the deciding factor.
“The skills I developed in the first and second year in the CAS also set me up for my year on placement in The Runnymede on Thames Hotel and Spa in Egham, Surrey.
“I started in the A la Carte restaurant, where I could develop my skills in a live hospitality business. I then moved into meeting and events, where I saw conferencing throughout the days, private dinners in the evenings, and weddings and celebrations at weekends. Although hard work it was brilliant and the most fun I had throughout my year – I would encourage anyone to do a bit of meeting and events work on their placements.
“January to May was in front of house where my mental skills were put to the test big time! I am now capable of using systems such as OPERA, a universally known programme used throughout the industry, and a very useful skill. Front of house also gave me my first experience of the accommodation side of hospitality; something I really enjoyed.
“I was promoted to Team Leader in the lounge area, meaning I could see a few more management practices, and I even got to be the Duty Manager for an afternoon/evening shift. Unfortunately it was the most boring shift ever, but I apparently got of lightly according to other managers!
“I had a brilliant year and it was mentioned a few times that I would be more than welcome to come back when I graduated, so when I received an email this January inviting me to come and have a chat I could never have dreamed that they would offer to create an Assistant Manager job specifically for me. From the end of June 2017 I will be the Assistant Manager on Duty Food and Beverage Portfolio. The job is within food and beverage, rotating daily through all the restaurants and food outlets, but also taking on meeting and events shifts and running small events as well as being on the Duty Manager rota. In short, combining all three main departments throughout the hotel into one job.
“To be able to say I am graduating and walking straight into a management role in a hotel I already know and love is something I could only have dreamed off, and this was all possible due to me taking a placement, and pushing the boundaries to incorporate as many different departments as possible. I was very lucky that the management didn’t have a problem with this and was surprised when my HR manager told me I was unique – that no previous placement student has ever wanted to combine more than one department.
“Although placements are not for everyone, I would thoroughly recommend them and encourage everyone to push the boundaries; without me doing it, I would certainly not be walking into my dream job. I have friends that did a placement in a hotel and found it wasn’t their thing, other friends spent the year in sunny LA and have returned for summer work this year, and quite a few have been offered roles in the companies they did placements in.”