From education to employment

Apprentice of the Year becomes Hilton’s youngest General Manager

Hilton’s Apprentice of the Year calls on #GCSE students to follow her into an apprenticeship following General Manager for a Day experience

Twenty-year-old apprentice Elizabeth Hughes took on the role of General Manager at Hilton Brighton Metropole for a day, making her the youngest Hilton Team Member ever to run a hotel. On one of the summer’s busiest days Elizabeth got to grips with the inner workings of the hotel in one of the UK’s most popular seaside hot spots.  

Elizabeth became the first ‘GM for a Day’ after being crowned Hilton’s Apprentice of the Year 2019. On a busy day filled with holidaymakers and conferences delegates, Elizabeth took charge of Hilton Brighton Metropole, leading meetings with Team Members, overseeing the setup for events, greeting guests upon arrival and forecasting occupancy and room rates for the coming weeks.

Having started her career as a receptionist at Hilton Reading, Elizabeth embarked upon a Level 2 apprenticeship to build her skills and help her progress to the next level. During her apprenticeship, she was promoted twice and is now Assistant Front of House Manager, with an ambition to become a General Manager by the time she turns 30.

Elizabeth Hughes, GM for a Day 2019 said,

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do after my GCSEs, and deciding on a career path felt like such a daunting decision. I really enjoyed my job at Hilton Reading, and starting an apprenticeship was a great way to build my skills and kick-start my career. My confidence has grown so much! The mix of hands-on experience and training really suited me, and I love the buzz of working in the hospitality industry. Having experienced a day in the life of a General Manager, I know this is the right career path for me.”

Sascha Koehler, Area General Manager, Hilton said,

“Bright, energetic young people like Elizabeth are the future of Hilton. Handing her the reins for a day was an eye-opening experience. We learned a great deal from having her at the helm; she gave us a fresh perspective and shared invaluable insights to help us tackle some of the challenges we face. We’ve taken on board some of the ideas she suggested, for example making improvements to how we engage with guests throughout their stay, using our specialist text messaging system.”

This year Hilton is celebrating its centenary year and has welcomed a record number of apprentices. The company currently has more than 230 Team Members working towards Level 2 and 3 apprenticeship qualifications across areas including cookery, sales, fitness and front office, and recently launched its Level 4 and 5 programmes for those looking to hone their leadership skills.

Kay Harriman, Senior Director HR, UK & Ireland, Hilton said,

“With nearly 50 pipeline properties in the UK, our modelling suggests that more than 4,000 new jobs could be created in the next 3-5 years as a result of Hilton’s rapid growth. As young people across the country open their GCSE results today, I’d encourage them to look into an apprenticeship. Whatever route you’re considering – from cookery and fitness to management and sales – an apprenticeship provides a fantastic springboard for a career in hospitality, and we’re always on the lookout for bright new Team Members to join our ever-expanding team.”

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