As young people across Cumbria receive their A-level and GCSE results this week, Cumbria Tourism is throwing the spotlight on the long-term career prospects available for them in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) says an important part of its current staff recruitment campaign is highlighting the wide range of opportunities available to school and college leavers – giving them the chance to gain industry experience, train on the job and potentially progress into senior positions.

With employers investing more and more in staff development, there are also plenty of opportunities for young people to balance work and study through sector-specific qualifications like the University of Cumbria’s Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship.

Matt Collins is General Manager at the Hillthwaite Hotel in Windermere and has built a long-standing career within the industry since starting as a teenager. He says, “I’ve had some amazing experiences with many opportunities to progress and learn. I started working full time in a hotel at 16, where I also completed a college course. From there I received an amazing opportunity from a hotel in Brighton looking after the Prime Minister and top ministers during their party conference.

“I then moved onto a trainee management scheme and was soon leading on weddings and events – sometimes as many as three in the same day! It’s definitely not a 9-5, Monday to Friday job but I love exploring the Lake District midweek with my wife, who I also met within the industry.”

Meanwhile, 28-year-old Dan Gatehouse is currently working in Grasmere as Operations Manager at the Victorian House Hotel. He says, “I discovered a love of hospitality through working in a pub when I was young. They really supported me by offering a supervisor position and an NVQ in professional cookery, and the rest is history!

“Cumbria’s tourism and hospitality industry is so diverse; you really can apply and develop a huge number of skills across the sector to find the best possible role for yourself. Whether it’s in finance, HR, reception, catering, marketing, management or any of the many other options it’s a really fulfilling career path. I’ve also had the opportunity to pursue apprenticeships and other qualifications – they didn’t match my situation at the time, but I have many colleagues who’ve really benefited from them.

“One of the best things about the industry is that there’s always another challenge, another opportunity. I’m always looking for the next step and have been able to build my skills and experience up over time all the way up to overseeing the refurbishment and reopening of the Victorian House Hotel here in Grasmere, as well as adapting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Matt Collins also encourages any young person with an interest to grab the opportunity with both hands. He adds, “There’s such a variety available for anyone willing to work hard and take on new experiences.  I always knew I wanted to move into management and by putting myself forward I was able to progress and make myself indispensable. I honestly wouldn’t want to work in any other industry.”

Anyone looking to start their career in Cumbria’s tourism and hospitality industry can browse current vacancies at:

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