My decision to follow a career in hospitality management has been prompted by work experience that I undertook during the last two summer holidays. I was initially undecided about my career choices and took the job, as an assistant to an entertainment manager on a cruise ship, to earn some extra cash.
I realised how lucky I was to have such an opportunity and to sail around the Mediterranean for 6 weeks, getting paid but I did not expect to enjoy it so much. The work was hard but the difference between this and the 9-5 Saturday job I have also done in retail could not be more marked. I was outside for much of the day, able to enjoy the sunshine and my work was all done with the intention of giving the people on the cruise their holiday of a lifetime.
Although some of the tasks were quite menial, being able to help put on competitions, run the children’s club and participate in the evening events was fantastic. Playing with the children and mixing with the guests at the dinner dances could not be described as work! I worked closely with the manager and was impressed at his ability to work long hours but still remain cheerful with his staff and the guests at all times. This rubbed off on me and I was surprised at how being enthusiastic and helpful was very satisfying, particularly when people made it obvious that they appreciated what I was doing.
After my first summer on the ship, I was eager to sign up for another and was pleased that they wanted me back. When I got home I started my college course doing A-levels in English, French and Business Studies and started to research university courses that would enable me to pursue a career in hospitality management. Working towards this well-defined goal has motivated me in my studies and I have obtained B grades in all three subjects in my AS levels. My immediate aim is to push at least two of these grades up to n ‘A’ in my A2 exams.
The subjects I chose to study were chosen based on my interest and aptitude and all are highly relevant to a degree in hospitality management. I have become much more fluent and confident in French as my work experience brought me into contact with French guests on the ship who were happy to let me practise. I realise the value of languages in the industry and have started an evening class to learn Spanish. Improving my cooking and presentation skills is also very important and I have combined this with helping my mother to run a cooking and baking skills class for teenage mothers in my local area. Next summer I have lined up an 8-week work placement with another cruise ship and this time I will be a catering assistant, so that will be a big challenge.
I feel that I have the motivation, academic and practical skills to gain a good degree in hospitality management and to then take up a career in the industry. My ambition is to own a hotel one day, or perhaps run my own cruises with a fleet of cruise ships.