I always think I got into training whilst working at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton delivering the company standards to my staff when in reality it began 14 years earlier with Lochs and Glens Holidays in Scotland.
The bonnie banks of Loch Lomond at The Inversnaid Hotel is where I began training staff but first I had to work as a waiter in the hotels restaurants and then gain experience in all of the other departments before being promoted to Bars Manager (notice how I put the title in capitals, I was so chuffed). Although I didn't know it at the time I got the promotion because my boss apparently had noticed all the effort I put into everything I did. It took me 2 years before I had to start training staff and the company put me on several courses too. The usual stuff for hospitality… Health and Safety, First Aid, Food Safety and a 3 day Craft Trainer Award.
It was the Craft Trainer Award which opened my eyes to training and now I had method in how to communicate to staff. One of the things I took from the course is the way in which you speak to people, your attitude. One memory that stands out for me in the 10 years I lived at Inversnaid Hotel is the many staff that wanted to work in my department and I'm sure it was, in part, down to my change of attitude from this course.
Again my boss praised me for my hard work when she told me "this hotel feels like it has one less department". Referring to the fact that I had put the historically poor figures the bar produced to being the best in the company as well as increasing service levels. Other hotels would be calling me for help in how to run their bars. It wasn't long before I was promoted again and was soon co-managing the hotel with my boss. We were a happy bunch working hard for our customers who often re booked and we would see them again and again. I spent a decade growing in Scotland and when it stopped I knew it was time to come back home and see what I could achieve in a very different environment. I still visit the hotel and keep in touch with some of the locals I was lucky to work with.
Coming back home to Newcastle didn't quite go as I would have thought. Suddenly I had competition for jobs, there was none in the hills of Scotland. I ended up working as a barman in a well respected pub, The Wooden Doll, which at the time had a fine dining restaurant. I realised that I needed to further my development as I had in Scotland.
I applied for a job in the newly opened Newcastle Gateshead Hilton as they have a good reputation for staff development and delivering great service. Soon I was working in the hotels bar and restaurant co managing with my boss. I appreciated Hilton's structured approach which taught me how a companies' standards promote consistency. I did several of Hilton's in-house courses on coaching and began assisting the lovely Human Resources department with mandatory fire training and staff induction. I found myself enjoying working for a 4 star de-luxe hotel with the high standards expected by the residents, and being responsible for my departments training was giving me itchy feet for a change of direction. The hotel put me on a Train the Trainer course which I enjoyed and this further influenced the way I taught my own staff. After finishing an NVQ Lv3 in Hospitality Supervision with my assessor I decided to continue on by finishing the A1 Award which got me my first job as a work based NVQ Assessor.
This took me to work at Tynemet College teaching the students in the college's restaurant and bar as part of their apprenticeship. In the time I worked at Tynemet I achieved status as a qualified teacher (Cert Ed), expanded my portfolio of vocationally based qualifications and completed my V1 Award in Quality Assurance. My colleagues in my department were classed as "Outstanding" in an Ofsted report and we were given a grade 2.
One good thing to come from the banking crisis and the subsequent government cuts was my decision to go self employed. Another step on the development ladder for me but this time I'm in charge of achieving the high service levels I always strive at.
Watch this space…….