How I’ve gone from Catering Assistant to Catering and Hospitality Manager!

Published : Mon 13th Mar Author : Luke Forsey, 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.

Next steps

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!

Luke Forsey
Catering and Hospitality Manager at Stowe