Partnership to encourage pupils to follow a career in hospitality

Amy Ellis, Libby Gordon, Jonathan Cook and Deryn Beattie with Kenny McMillan (general manager at Macdonald Pittodrie House Hotel) and Phil Gaiter (back right), rector at the Gordon Schools, Huntly.
Amy Ellis, Libby Gordon, Jonathan Cook and Deryn Beattie with Kenny McMillan (general manager at Macdonald Pittodrie House Hotel) and Phil Gaiter (back right), rector at the Gordon Schools, Huntly.

A leading north-east hotel has teamed up with youngsters at an Aberdeenshire school to showcase the hospitality sector as a genuine career path.

Macdonald Pittodrie House, based at Chapel of Garioch, near Inverurie, has launched the new partnership with the Gordons Schools in Huntly, through Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) North East.

The initiative encourages pupils to learn more about jobs available in the hospitality industry they might never have previously considered.

By engaging with pupils now, it means that they will have the opportunity to work across different projects throughout the remainder of their school careers and, potentially, into their working lives by creating employment and training opportunities.

Kenny McMillan, general manager at Macdonald Pittodrie House, said: “There is a huge gap in the market for people coming into the industry. Hospitality is often seen as a way to make some extra money before heading off to university or further education, rather than as a genuine career path.

“Having pupils from the Gordon Schools through the doors gives us the chance to offer them a taster of the different skills required for the day-to-day running of a hotel: from events management and accounts, to working in the kitchen, or even the maintenance and grounds team across our 2,500-acre estate.”

Phil Gaiter, rector of the Gordon Schools said: “The relationship will assist our school in improving pupil achievement and help young people prepare for the world of work. Together, we will be engaging in work inspiration activities, including practical cooking demonstrations, behind-the-scenes visits and career inputs.

“Giving young people the chance to gain work placements with the potential for apprenticeships, trainee and part-time positions is a great boost to the future prospects of our young people.”

Mary Holland, director at DYW North East, said: "DYW helps build meaningful partnerships between employers and education to benefit young people. Our mission is to be the vital link for businesses and schools to engage, inspire and develop the young workforce of the north-east.

"Establishing links with the growth sectors of tourism and hospitality alongside food and drink is vital for the economic development of the region. It is key we have a talent pipeline coming through schools, colleges and university for these sectors."

"As such, a major drive is underway to change perception of the hospitality sector in the eyes of school pupils and their parents and highlight the range of career opportunities which it offers. Establishing strategic partnerships like the one between Macdonald Pittodrie House Hotel and the Gordon Schools Huntly is a fantastic way to bring this vibrant and diverse industry to life."

Councillor Gillian Owen, convener of Aberdeenshire Council’s education committee, said: “This partnership is an excellent opportunity for young people to develop their skills and gain the experience needed to succeed in the world of work.

“This news comes just after Aberdeenshire Council has announced an additional 134 foundation apprenticeship opportunities for young people in S5 and S6 within its secondary schools from August, in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland.”