Room to learn hospitality

The UK’s largest independent hotel group has joined forces with the Press and Journal’s Apprentice 100 campaign to try to draw more talent into the hospitality industry.

Macdonald Hotels has vowed to create new trainee management positions at three of its north of Scotland locations as part of our crusade to propel young people up the career ladder.

The new posts will be split across Pittodrie House Hotel near Inverurie, Norwood Hall Hotel in Aberdeen and New Drumossie Hotel in Inverness.

Candidates will spend three months in each of the business’s four main departments – housekeeping, reception, HR and food and drink – as they work towards an SVQ in hospitality.

If the apprentices are in place early enough, they could benefit from the introductory courses on offer at Macdonald Hotels’ new training academy at Aviemore.

It was launched in August with an intake of 10 apprentices aged 16-22. Macdonald has billed it as a centre of excellence for hospitality in the north of Scotland.

The company’s deputy chief executive, Ruaridh Macdonald, said the hotel group has trained apprentices since it was founded 25 years ago, but that negative perceptions of hospitality careers have made it difficult to find new recruits.

Mr Macdonald said: “I think our industry has probably been tarnished in the past with long working hours and poor conditions.

“People perhaps think it is more of a job than a career so we’ve been active locally with each individual hotel in bringing in apprentices.”

Muhammad Zeshan Sarwar, a trainee manager at the Aviemore resort, turned down offers from top hotels in London and the US to join Macdonald Hotels in June.

 Muhammad Zeshan Sarwar

Mr Sarwar, 31, said he opted for the firm after being impressed by its “strong” training programme.

And now he has spent some time in Aviemore, Mr Sarwar, who is from Sweden and recently attended a hospitality management school in Switzerland, has shelved his globetrotting plans for the foreseeable future.

He said: “I love living in Aviemore. I love my job and the people I work with.

“I do not think I’m going to move in the near future. I want to work here and help take this resort to the next level.”

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