Building a future whilst overcoming the challenges of Covid-19

“It really has been a fantastic course, and the assessors are understanding, supportive and a real credit to the company!” – Kirstie

Ever since they were teenagers, Kirstie and Lauren dreamed of pursuing a career in hospitality. Now, after working in the industry for numerous years, they decided to take their career to the next step, through the help of an apprenticeship.

Both Kirstie and Lauren, work as front of house for the award-winning Golf Club, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.

Having both completed their NVQ Level 3 in Supervision and Leadership, Kirstie and Lauren are now ready to take their first steps into management, with the aid of the Level 4 Hospitality Management course.

Throughout their time on the programme, Kirstie and Lauren have both had to battle with and overcome multiple barriers. The main challenge they both had to face, was the covid-19 pandemic. As I’m sure you’re aware, the pandemic has had a detrimental effect on the hospitality industry, with the majority of businesses experiencing staff shortages and loss of revenue. Not only was this a difficult period to work through, and manage others, but Kirstie and Lauren also had their coursework to complete. Even in the toughest of times, both women showed tremendous dedication to complete all their coursework on time, and to a high standard.

Lauren has also had personal barriers to deal with, having recently being diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis), which is a disease that affects your central nervous system, and can provide symptoms such as loss of vision, vertigo, fatigue and muscle spasticity. Meaning that during this difficult time, not only has Lauren had to juggle her workload, managerial duties, and the emotional effects of the pandemic, but has also had to battle against her health issues, by having to attend multiple appointments and deal with the extended worries of the vulnerability of her health during a global pandemic. As difficult as this period has been for Lauren, she has shown a great level of determination and courage, by balancing all the challenges mentioned above, and still managing to complete her apprenticeship.

According to the girls, one of the key elements that made overcoming these barriers possible was their assessor, Nick Snell.

“Within this type of environment, it makes such a difference having a close relationship with your assessor, it makes the process so much more enjoyable and manageable. Having an honest and transparent relationship with Nick has really helped me to achieve my goals” – Lauren

Both girls credit Itec and the apprenticeship programme for their development, by providing the girls with a greater understanding of their core responsibilities, various strategies on how to manage others, as well as tactics and practices to increase customer satisfaction.

“Having the opportunity to really fine tune my current skills whilst developing a whole new set was really beneficial to me” – Kirstie

Kirstie’s experience throughout the apprenticeship programme has inspired her to run her own team and put her newfound leadership skills into practice.

Using her newfound confidence from her apprenticeship, Kirstie applied for the more senior role of ‘Food & Beverage Supervisor’, in which she was successful. Whilst Lauren already has her sights set on another apprenticeship, and plans to continue her learning journey to further develop her management and hospitality skills.

“I have already thought about and looking into the next level of the apprenticeship, even though I haven’t finished this one yet” – Lauren

When questioned, both Kirstie and Lauren stated that the most important benefit of the apprenticeship was the amount of support they received from their assessor, Nick.

“Nick has been so much help, I really don’t think I would have been able to do this apprenticeship without him” – Lauren

Both state that they would recommend an apprenticeship with Itec to others, and wish to remind others that, even when you think you’re on your own, there’s always someone willing to help you through the tough times.