Case Study - Holiday Inn Express are one of the biggest hotel brands in the UK. The Albert Dock branch is located on one of the most iconic waterfronts in the UK, recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site. We caught up with two of their apprentices to see how they find it there...
Liverpool's tourist industry is worth £4.1bn and employs 51,500 people. Holiday Inn Express Liverpool chose Sysco to help ensure that all of their staff are able to provide the excellent customer service the brand is known for. We recently caught up with two Apprentices from Holiday Inn Express, Josh Walsh and Conor Creevy, and asked them about their experiences of the Apprenticeship programme so far.
Why did you feel an Apprenticeship was right for you?
Josh: I was working as a builder before I started to consider an Apprenticeship as a way to start a career. The Customer Service position with Holiday Inn Express caught my eye as I am very personable and approachable and I thought working in a hotel was something I could excel at. Working for one of the largest hotel chains in the UK appealed to me and I hope to be able to achieve my full potential here.
Conor: I completed a work experience placement with Holiday Inn as part of my college course in Travel and Tourism so I have always considered the hospitality industry as an option for my career. When I left college I was working in a warehouse but kept my eye on the National Apprenticeship Service for Apprenticeships as I wanted to continue my learning and earn a wage at the same time. Once I saw the vacancy for Holiday Inn Express I applied and was successful.
How have you found Sysco to deal with?
Josh: Once I applied I got a phone call off Hannah at Sysco inviting me for an interview. Prior to the interview, Hannah helped me with my CV and gave me some useful tips for the interview. I found Hannah a great help through the recruitment process and once I found out I had been successful with my application the sign up process was easy and I was kept well informed by all the Sysco staff. My trainer Cathy has been great and provided me with lots of training and motivation to learn more. The support I have received has helped me complete my qualification ahead of target.
Conor: I have been well supported by Sysco. All the learning has been appropriate to my role and the units I have completed have helped me deal with lots of different situations at the hotel. The help I have received from my trainer means that I have felt well supported during the qualification and I would recommend them to my friends and family without hesitation.
Compared to other jobs you have had, has undertaking learning on the job presented any challenges?
Josh: The only issue I've had is with my spelling. I've always had difficulty with it however Sysco have been supportive. Hannah helped me spellcheck my C.V., without which I don't think I would have been successful in my application. My trainer helps me proof read my assignments and I feel as if I am improving my spelling as a result.
Conor: I haven't had any issues or challenges during the qualification to be honest. Everything has been clearly described and explained and my trainer has been available to answer any questions I have. This apprenticeship has gone so smoothly I am hoping to progress onto a further qualification.
What has the Apprenticeship done for you as a person and employee?
Conor: The Apprenticeship has really helped me with my confidence when dealing with people and any issues that arise with the hotel. I have recently moved to nights and I often have to deal with disruptive guests so my trainer and manager have been helping with ways to deal with these guests. As I have been on nights more it has really helped me in my confidence and people skills the more I have to deal with guests who are inebriated or seeking to break the guest rules of the hotel.
Josh: The Apprenticeship has helped with my confidence, helped be more organised and improved my I.T. skills. I also feel like my customer service skills have improved and I often get good feedback from my colleagues, line manager and trainer. This feedback motivates me to continue improving in the knowledge that I am performing well. I want to improve every day and the Apprenticeship really helps with that.