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Situated in Stanhope, in the heart of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the Durham Dales Centre. A unique venue with a tearoom, gift shops, speciality craft shops and conference facilities. The tearoom seats 75 and is famous for its brilliant, traditional Sunday Lunches, its extensive menu of homemade hot and cold meals, speciality coffees, teas and irresistible home baking.
Yvonne Lee and Carolyn Hurworth have both been working at the tearoom for over 15 years. They have both been undertaking hospitality qualifications with HIT Training and are subsequently progressing up the career ladder. As a result of their training, the business has become more efficient which is helping them grow and boosting their confidence while improving their working environment.
Carolyn started her career as Tearoom Supervisor in August 2001 and in February 2015 decided to take the opportunity to progress her skills by completing the Intermediate Customer Service Apprenticeship. Once Carolyn had completed the Intermediate Level, she went on to achieve the Advanced Hospitality, Supervision and Leadership (HSL) Apprenticeship. “I really enjoyed the Customer Service course”, commented Carolyn. “I wanted to keep building my skills and knowledge about the running of the business. The HSL qualification has taught me so much more! Now I am managing more staff and I’m taking on new tasks which I previously did not have the confidence to do, like public speaking, addressing team issues and delegating responsibilities.”
“I have a great working relationship with my Trainer Assessor,” continued Carolyn. “Candice really understands the team and the organisation. She has helped me learn how to manage my time more effectively and supported me entirely with one to one training. I even passed maths and English!” Having been promoted to Site Supervisor, Carolyn feels that she is looking at constant ways to progress and improve the performance of the centre and ensuring more positivity among team members. Her qualifications have assisted her in understanding customers and their needs, monitoring team performance, managing budgets and working with suppliers. Carolyn is also working with the centre to set up organisation policies and procedures. Now she is looking to progress her IT skills and is just about to start her Advanced Business Administration Apprenticeship.
Yvonne has recently been promoted from Tea Room Assistant to Team Leader since completing her Customer Service Apprenticeship in March this year. She is now progressing onto her Advanced HSL and is really pleased with how far she has come. “It was seeing Carolyn completing her courses and encouragement from my colleagues that inspired me to begin training with HIT,” Yvonne explained. “I feel that taking the step to broaden my knowledge and skills has really benefited me – especially now I have been promoted and so have taken on much more responsibility.”
Achieving her maths and English Functional Skills qualifications and improving her understanding of customer service and production, have been the highlights of Yvonne’s ongoing training. She is now leading and motivating the team. “I have gained life-long career skills,” said Yvonne. “I am so much more self-assured when dealing with customers and when I’m demonstrating to colleagues how things are supposed to be done. I can handle any issues, and address problems easily, whether they be internal or with customers, and I can now approach staff on their performance with confidence.”
Candice Craven, Trainer Assessor at HIT Training, has been delighted with both Yvonne and Carolyn’s development. “When I started training the ladies at Durham Dales, I thought I might be met with some resistance as they have both been working there for so long,” said Candice. “I was so happy that they were both willing to take on everything I taught them and really put what they were learning into their day to day jobs. It has been a real pleasure working with them and seeing them grow in their new roles and develop the business as they go.”