Front Office Coordinator
I’ve always preferred learning practical skills to academic study, so when the opportunity came up to learn on the job as a Gleneagles apprentice, I jumped at the chance.
When I started, I knew nothing about hospitality, but I fell in love with the pace and passion of the place straight away. My apprenticeship lasted for three years, with six-month placements across housekeeping, food & beverage, culinary and guest services, and a further year specialising in guest services. That diversity provided a complete immersion into the workings of the hotel. It was, without doubt, one of the best experiences of my life.
It was a real shock to the system at first. One minute I was a school pupil and the next I suddenly found myself at the deep end, making up beds as a full-time housekeeper in one of the most famous hotels in the world. I was really nervous and out of my comfort zone, but those situations in life are wonderful learning opportunities because every day you’re growing in confidence.
Working across three different kitchens for my culinary placement was another steep learning curve because I had never cooked before, but there’s a passion in kitchens that’s completely addictive. The chefs taught me skills that will stay with me for the rest of my life, especially time-management. I’m never going to become a Michelin-starred chef, but my knife skills are on point and my prioritisation skills are strong!
After Culinary, I moved to Front Office. As soon as I started, I knew it was where I belonged. I’ve always been a people person with a positive outlook, and guest service gives you the opportunity to interact with people and spread happiness every day. There is no greater buzz than when you’ve created a really special experience for a guest and they tell you how happy they are because of your efforts.
The rotation format of the programme gives you respect for every team. If I had never been a housekeeper, chef or a waiter, I would ever fully understand the time and talent it takes to service a bedroom or ensure a guest has a lovely dining experience. That working knowledge has made me a much better guest services professional.
Once I completed my apprenticeship, I got a job at a luxury private resort in the British Virgin Islands. It was simply amazing and I know I would never have had the opportunity without the experience I gained at Gleneagles. After a year, the lure of home was too strong, and I was lucky to come back to my Gleneagles family in the promoted role of Front Office Coordinator.
I look at my friends from school who’re still paying their way through university. As they’ve been acquiring student debts, I’ve been getting paid to learn, and I feel so lucky.
I’m 22 now, and proud of what I’ve achieved and how much I’ve grown professionally, but it’s only the beginning for me. My dream is to become a General Manager of a five-star hotel like Gleneagles one day, so that I can help the next generation of talent coming through the industry just like I was supported.
When I was younger, I wanted to see the world, meet people, experience different cultures and go on adventures. I couldn’t afford to go on a gap year abroad, but what I ended up doing was so much better because the apprenticeship gave me all of that and more. The programme opens so many doors for you; once you’ve completed it, the whole world of hospitality is your oyster!