There are few sectors where you can become a member of the management team before you reach the age of 20.
Lewis Milne, 19, Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at Maryculter House tells how his hospitality career has progressed so rapidly.
“My role involves managing the food and beverage operations throughout Maryculter House Hotel.
“What I enjoy most about my role, is that every day is different. You meet new people daily, and I enjoy engaging with my team. Development is something that I try to focus on for my team, as I want them to be the best they can be. When I first started off in hospitality I had very little support, I had to work on developing myself by essentially training myself. I want my team members to feel valued, hence I try to help them every step of the way. Another thing that I enjoy about my role is working at events such as weddings, you get such a great buzz which you do not get in many other jobs. It is a great feeling knowing that you have made a couple’s perfect day go smoothly and see the massive grins on their faces at check out.
“My career started off in a small hotel, The Burnett Arms Hotel, in Banchory. I started at the age of 14, as a dishwasher. I was a dishwasher for around six months before I started to develop an interest in the front of house operations. I approached my manager expressing my interest, and she agreed to let me try out banqueting. I worked every Wednesday serving the local Rotary Club, and I enjoyed it so much. I then went on to working in the hotel restaurant, developing myself further and learning new skills every shift. I worked in this establishment for around a year before I decided that I wanted to broaden my knowledge.
“This is when I decided to apply for a job at The Cowshed Restaurant in Banchory. I knew that I could learn great things at this establishment as it was owned by Graham Buchan who has a vast knowledge of the industry. I developed great 5* service skills to which I still use today.
“After around a year and a half at this establishment, as most of us do, I decided that I wanted to try something different, so I decide to get a job in hospitality at a retail firm, M&S, I worked here in the busy café throughout the winter season and really learnt lots about effective management in this position. I worked closely with my manager as I was eager to get myself a promotion. My managers really saw me shine and some weekends I would look after the hospitality departments, Bakery, Deli and Café. This was a great stepping-stone for me, and it really encouraged me to do my best for the company. After a year I started getting withdrawal symptoms from the hotel and restaurant side of things; there was not the same buzz working in retail hospitality. I then decided to look for a trainee management role as I realised how much I enjoyed the management side of things in my time at M&S.
“After M&S, I went on to take a Trainee Management job at Banchory Lodge, I came across this establishment when we stayed here after my mum’s wedding in 2018. I loved the quirkiness and the buzz about the establishment so decided to hand my CV in the next day. I was quickly emailed by the general manager (GM), Morag Macindoe, and she was eager to discuss things further with me. I went to the hotel the next day and had a great chat with Morag about what I wanted to achieve. She then went on to make up a plan for me; the plan allowed me to work in many departments within the hotel. This helped me to gain an insight into all departments within a hotel.
“This is when I really fell in love with my job.
“Morag would give me monthly tasks, such as making up Standard Operating Plans (SOPs) using what I had learned, which really motivated me. During my trainee management programme Morag would assign me duty manager shifts which meant I had to ensure that the hotel was all set for the day, staff were briefed on the daily business and help any customers who may have complaints. I loved having a sense of responsibility and that encouraged me to do well in this role. After almost a year and a half I wanted to apply for my first management role, and unfortunately Banchory Lodge could not fulfil this.
“I connected with Peter Walker, who is the managing director at Maryculter House, on LinkedIn and saw that they were recruiting for assistant managers. I believed that this would be perfect for my first proper management role. After arranging various chats with Peter, I could really see his passion for the industry, and we bonded straight away over all things hospitality. I was delighted to accept his offer as assistant manager of food and beverage. I have now been in the role six months and I have loved every minute of it. Peter has been great and has helped me develop myself every step of the way on my journey in the hospitality industry since I started at Maryculter House. I am hopeful that I can take over the job as food and beverage manager soon.
“I hope that I can eventually progress to a GM role within an establishment, however I know that I still have a lot to learn in my career.
“My parents had a real frown upon the hospitality industry when I first started, however I was not letting them put me down as I knew from the start this is what I wanted to do. My dad put a real push on my going to University, however I was totally against this as I am not a classroom learner. And what better way to learn than do the job and get paid for it. They now however are proud of where I have managed to get at such a young age.
“If hospitality is something that interests, you I would say go for this apprenticeship! It is a great opportunity and there is loads that you can do with it. Do not let people get in your way. If you put in your all and have determination you will get where you want.”