How I’ve gone from Catering Assistant to Catering and Hospitality Manager!
I joined the National Trust when I was 16: my property was local, my sister already worked there and it seemed like an easy option. I worked every Saturday while I was at school, acquiring new skills including coffee making and salad prep, as well as earning my level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate.
When my A level grades came through I was accepted into my first choice university, but decided to defer my place for the following year. During my gap year, I worked in a few offices as an intern but nothing really excited me; during this time I still worked every Saturday at my local property until they closed for the winter. When it reopened in the spring, the manager offered me the Catering Supervisor role and I gladly accepted.
My friends had returned from university over the various holidays throughout the year and they had all absolutely raved about it. Feeling I couldn’t miss out, I handed in my notice at the National Trust and went off to Aberystwyth University to study Physical Geography with Computer Science.
Looking to the future
Three years passed, I had my degree, made some excellent new friends and came back to my home town looking forward to the future. My parents had since moved away and I had begun to rent a flat with a friend, was tirelessly applying for jobs to do with my degree. A simple option arose for the time being – a full-time Catering Assistant role at the National Trust.
From September to November I continued to apply for various jobs to do with Geography or IT but it wasn’t to be. In November, I noticed an Assistant Manager role at a much larger and busier National Trust property with an appealing salary. I applied and got the job; I was thrilled! I stayed at this property for three and a half years and really enjoyed my time there, there were difficult moments, but I was able to learn every single process to do with the National Trust, at my own pace. The business boomed: we took over £1.2 million in my final year and visitor numbers soared to over 400,000. I assisted the Catering Manager looking after four different outlets, achieved my level 3 Food Hygiene Certificate, completed my first aid accreditation and achieved various accomplishments in terms of visitor enjoyment, service leadership and health and safety.
Feeling that I needed to move on, a Catering and Hospitality Manager role came up at another large local property with a well-equipped kitchen and purpose built café, which just seemed perfect for my career progression. I’m loving every minute of my time here at Stowe – it helps that the figures show I'm making a good impact, I’m absolutely delighted.
Here’s to the next few years and who knows how far off the Commercial Operations Manager position is!
Catering and Hospitality Manager at Stowe