HIT Scotland has announced the Scholarships Programme for 2017 and we are keen to advertise the wide selection of Scholarships available. To that end we want to promote the benefits of the Scholarships and the opportunities they enable. Chris McGuinness, General Manager of the Aberdeen Marriott Hotel has just returned from his Dubai Scholarship.
I first started working in Hotels when I was 16 and still at school and my first role was working part-time in a kitchen. That was almost 27 years ago!
When I left school, I went on to study Hospitality Management at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown (N.I) before taking up my first full time position in 1995 as Food & Beverage Supervisor at the Copthorne Hotel in Glasgow, where I had previously spent a year on industrial placement. I progressed to Restaurant Manager and eventually transferred to the Copthorne Hotel, Aberdeen as Assistant Food & Beverage Manager before moving to the Copthorne Hotel Birmingham where I spent three years as Executive Assistant Manager.
In 2005 I was promoted to General Manager back at the Copthorne Hotel in Aberdeen where I remained until 2008 when I left the company and joined the Marriott Hotel Aberdeen as General Manager.
I had been personally involved in HIT some years ago and along with my colleagues at the Aberdeen Hotels Association have been continually promoting the benefits of what they do for employees in the area but this year was the first time I had applied for a scholarship myself.
It was a real surprise and indeed honour when I was told that I had been successful in my application for an International Scholarship at the Emerging Talent Conference in February. Having only ever worked for two Hotel chains I was given the opportunity to spend a week with the Jumeirah Group in Dubai and see at first hand how they operate their hotels on a day -to-day basis and do business in the Middle East. The experience was hugely rewarding and undoubtabley provided me with many invaluable examples of “best practice” within our field.
I would recommend a HIT Scholarship to anyone within our industry, regardless of what step of the career ladder they are on. Whether it be to gain experience in a different work environment or enhance your knowledge through a university based programme or indeed, to add to your current skills via a coaching/mentoring role, I would certainly encourage you to apply.