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Macdonald Hotels creates next generation of hoteliers

Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa in Windermere
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa in Windermere

[M]acdonald Old England Hotel & Spa in Windermere, will be helping hundreds of young people launch a bright future in hospitality through its Group’s new graduate programme.

The 4-star hotel will be supporting the 18-month training scheme, which starts in September 2017, and is designed to help budding hospitality professionals take the first steps into a new career through hands-on experience across all areas of the hotel business.

Improvements to the programme will add to the success of previous years – more than 33 graduates have successfully completed the programme and went on to take up full-time professional positions with Macdonald Hotel Group. Now, a dedicated senior mentor will work with each graduate to ensure they hit the ground running and develop the skills needed for a successful future in the fast-moving industry. There’s also an increased salary and a generous annual leave entitlement, as well as other staff benefits. Those who successfully complete the course are guaranteed a full-time position.

General manager Marco Frik of Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa said: “Investing in developing staff and creating career opportunities has always been a priority. Our training programmes offer excellent experience for young people with a passion for good service and the ambition to work in hospitality. We are focused on developing and rewarding talent, and giving graduates and those starting out in their careers the opportunities and support they need to fulfil their potential. By giving them real hands-on training and experience in every area of the hotel business, we’re creating the hoteliers of the future.”

Following a comprehensive company induction, the graduate programme has three phases in which the graduate will shadow and experience hands-on training in every department in the hotel, including food and beverage, revenue management and hotel sales. At the end of the programme, appraisals are carried out and the graduates can apply and interview for a permanent position.

Macdonald Hotel Group is looking for 22 graduates with a 2:1 degree or higher to join this year’s cohort through open applications to 19 hotels across the UK, including at Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa.

Case study

Chris Rafe, General Manager Macdonald Bear Hotel, Oxfordshire
Chris Rafe, General Manager Macdonald Bear Hotel, Oxfordshire

Chris Rafe, 33, general manager at Macdonald Bear Hotel in Woodstock, Oxfordshire is a success story from the Group’s first graduate programme in 2005.

He said: “I started my career in the hospitality business working in my local pub as a weekend kitchen porter, before completing my degree in hotel and catering management. After graduation, I began the Macdonald Hotels’ graduate programme at the Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel in Camberley in 2005.”

“The programme is an excellent way to gain knowledge and experience in every aspect of the hotel industry. It also gave me the opportunity to meet new colleagues and visit the other hotels within the Macdonald portfolio.

“While I found some areas more challenging than others, I was given a lot of support from my senior team to understand all the departments. When I began, my goal was to learn everything about the hotel business and by completing the programme, I was given a fantastic foundation to progress my career and I believe I am a better GM for it.

“Every day in hospitality is different and the best thing about the industry is that it is people-focused. As a general manager, ensuring our customers receive the very best service is my top priority.”

In addition to its new graduate programme, Macdonald Old England Hotel is also launching a new Hotelier programme. Created to be the perfect next step for those already working within the hotel group, who are keen to develop their career in hospitality, the new scheme will grow a multi-skilled workforce. Trainees will be nominated by their senior managers.

The new scheme is similar to the graduate programme and will focus on developing supervisory, leadership and management skills across every area of the business. Hands-on experience will allow these hospitality leaders of the future to develop their craft and deliver a great top quality experience for guests.

Both programmes cover all aspects of operations, including food and beverage, sales, conference and banqueting, room service and kitchen, housekeeping and reception. After gaining a great overview of the hotel business and exploring which aspects they enjoy most, the Hotelier programme trainees are given the chance to spend time in an area of their choice.

For more information about subscribing to the graduate programme in 2017, go to

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