Anyela Parkinson – Trainee Assistant Manager at Oakman Inns

“Thanks to my apprenticeship, I understand how my behaviour has a positive impact on the guest experience which then leads to repeat custom.”

Why an apprenticeship?

When I started work in housekeeping, I was keen to try out different parts of the business. I discovered I loved the restaurant side of Oakman Inns and, as I’ve always loved people, I mentioned moving into this area and learning more about the management side. That was when the head of training suggested that I start a Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor apprenticeship.

I really enjoyed the practical aspect of my apprenticeship with training completed both on site and via Zoom. I met so many different people this way and learned about different roles within the industry. It was encouraged to ask questions of senior management about why we do things a certain way to embed my learning and initiate new ideas for the business. By completing a lot of my learning within the work environment, I was also able to share some of my knowledge with team members and help champion a learning environment.

Anyela Parkinson – Trainee Assistant Manager at Oakman Inns

Benefitting my business

I was promoted from front-of-house to trainee assistant manager leading to more responsibility such as operation site checks, and planning and organising special events. I also requested to run the Christmas Day shift which involved taking bookings for both the hotel and restaurant, deposits, pre-orders, cover times and service cycle for the day. I also managed a waiting list and ensured details for all diners and residents were correct. This required communicating with the kitchen team over pre-orders and expectations for how the day will run. This wouldn’t normally be expected from a front-of-house team member but I wanted to show I had the capacity and the organisational skills to plan the day.

I introduced a mini dessert platter special which formed part of my business project plan as part of the apprenticeship. Looking at the KPIs for the business, I highlighted desserts and coffees were an area for improvement to increase dwell time, guest experience and revenue. I discussed ideas for dishes with the head chef in weekly management meetings and now the dessert platter is part of our offer.

I also requested a week’s secondment at The Woburn, a site four times bigger than my current place of work. The idea of the move was to understand the workings and organisational structure of a bigger team, and how to communicate across a site with 68 residents rather than 18 maximum at The Alma Inn. This was a great opportunity to learn from others who are more experienced and have different backgrounds and cultures.

Anyela Parkinson – Trainee Assistant Manager at Oakman Inns

The HIT Training difference

My HIT Vocational Trainer Michelle Proctor was amazing and very passionate about supporting my dyslexia. She was always there to support me on Zoom and in person. The apprenticeship has given me so much confidence as I work towards becoming an assistant manager one day and training other team members. From the start, I was encouraged to learn about all areas of the business from kitchen porter to housekeeper to improve ways of working, understand the frustrations of team members, and act as a stage for leadership, willing to work in any position and understand the workings of the business.

This awareness has helped me gain the respect of my team. While I’ve always enjoyed being customer-focused, my leadership skills were boosted through the apprenticeship. I regularly receive good feedback from customers and thanks to my apprenticeship, I understand how my behaviour has a positive impact on the guest experience which then leads to repeat custom.

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