High school students go behind scenes at hotel

STUDENTS were offered inspiration to enter the hospitality industry with a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Duke of Richmond.

Passion for the industry was heightened by hands-on experience ahead of GCSE courses starting for St Sampson’s High School pupils.

Following on from a successful inaugural visit in 2019, another was planned for last year until Covid hit, which has exacerbated staff shortages in the industry.

In the past the industry has been seen as poorly paid.

Hotel general manager Gareth Byrne said it had moved on a lot since that was the case.

‘It’s not as antisocial or underpaid as it once was,’ he said.

‘Starting off maybe you wouldn’t get as much as in finance, but in the long term, successful managers will hit six figures.’

After the visit, Mr Byrne hoped, students would be encouraged into summer work in the industry, or even at Red Carnation Hotels, and later into further study.

‘We want to create a pathway for them to succeed and give them that hands-on experience, in an “earn while you learn” way.’

Catering and hospitality offered a more vocational occupation, Mr Byrne added – not everybody wants to work nine to five at a desk. ‘This gives some more options and today is an opportunity for students to experience catering in a real work life capacity.’

Food and beverage manager Kishen Mooroogen takes lunch to the students. (29730892)

Leon Carre, 15, said he was excited to come back after attending the previous visit, which led him to choose catering at GCSE.

‘Now I want to progress further in chef-ing,’ Leon said.

‘I’ve always been interested in it and wanted to see what it’s like.’

His favourite part of the day was watching Kevin Semple, the OGH and Duke executive chef, demonstrate the ease of whipping up a fresh, local meal from scratch in five minutes – squid ink risotto – and comparing its quality with instant noodles.

After the previous visit, two interns were taken on who have continued to study, and Mr Semple hosted a MasterChef session at the school.

‘We already have two or three students who from today would like a part-time job here,’ said Tracy Park, SSHS food technician.

‘We have a real connection with the DoR. From the last visit, one came through and won second in the UK regionals, who came on and did part-time work here. It really inspired a lot of students to get involved with the industry.’

Staff shared their career stories, such as food and beverage manager Kishen Mooroogen, who fell in love with the island after visiting when working on a cruise.

Kristi Murphy, 15, said the trip was really exciting and everything was stunning.

‘I’ve loved seeing the insider’s point of view on what actually happens behind the scenes.

‘Learning to make mocktails was my favourite. We used apple juice, orange juice and pineapple juice with grenadine and ginger beer.’

It gave a flavour of what to do in future.

‘I haven’t got it all figured out yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.’

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