Think again – Springboard ambassadors lead the way

26 October 2012
Think again – Springboard ambassadors lead the way

Springboard ambassadors give something back to the industry by spreading the word to young people about the great careers available in hospitality. Here, they share their tips for success with Neil Gerrard

Industry charity Springboard has spent more than 20 years helping young, unemployed and disadvantaged people into careers in hospitality, leisure and tourism. A major part of the work it does to open young people's eyes to the industry is through its network of ambassadors - industry professionals who take the time to spread the word about the great sector they work in.

Several ambassadors, many of whom are also recipients of Caterer and Hotelkeeper‘s Acorn Awards for the top 30 hospitality professionals under 30, here share their tips for success.


Hospitality is such a huge and diverse industry with so many facets. There are the most amazing opportunities to add more strings to your bow of knowledge; however they won't fall into your lap. You have to go out and get them.

Experiences in this business need to be sought out, asked for and made; at every stage you need to show a willingness to go over and above what is expected. Read your job description and look for what isn't there. Always ask how you can improve the position you have and what you can do to help.


As a manager who started as a waitress, my advice to anyone wanting to get ahead in their hospitality career is to make sure the right people are aware of where you want to be, find a mentor. Chances are your manager and their manager had other roles when they first started so they will understand your ambitions.

When I wanted to progress to the next level in my department, I took on some of the responsibilities and learnt how to carry out certain tasks so that I was ready when the chance came along, you might not be getting paid to do it, but it pays to get yourself noticed.


With hospitality, as with most things in life, you get out of it what you put in. That means both the hard work that you put in to move through the ranks in your chosen career path, but also your contribution to the industry itself through being involved with industry charities, professional associations and by taking on responsibilities like becoming a Springboard ambassador.

There is no substitute for being close to the detail and really understanding your business. Make sure you sense-check everything, too, quite often what you think you see/are being told is not always what it seems!


Your manager isn't a mind reader. Talk to them about your aspirations. Use every opportunity to impress. Work hard, there is no easy route to success.


For me, this industry is all about passion, dedication and commitment, and you have to show this from day one. Others in the industry will give you their time and support if they feel that you are listening, taking in information and are committed to developing your knowledge.

Never be afraid to say "I don't know", it gets harder to say the further you grow in the industry, so say it as much as you need to. Be on time (or early) - every time. Take an open mind to work every day and challenge yourself to do one thing better than yesterday, every day. You can achieve so much in a week, month, year this way. Take work experience seriously and make a real life-changing decision to commit to hospitality. You get out what you put in, so put in loads and then put in a bit more. At the age of 16, I wanted to be a policeman - 20 years (or so) later - I could not see myself doing anything else - if I can do it so can you - believe.


To be successful in the hospitality industry you do not need to be a natural academic, there is a route in for everyone and all can lead to the top. If you want to reach the top effectively there are a few things that really help:

â- Being driven.

â- Volunteer, to enable you to gain wider exposure and more varied experience.

â- Do not judge everything by money or time off.

â- Have fun.

â- Be dedicated and set yourself clear, achievable goals.

â- Get a mentor.

â- Don't give up.

â- Always take up training opportunities.

â- Be a team player.

â- Give back and support others.


My 10 steps to success:

â- Create your right time, people and place. Make things happen to you and leave hospitality as a life-changing experience.

â- Always have a plan, stick to it, believe in it and be ready to change it if necessary.

â- Find a mentor in the industry, someone you are inspired by. Understand what you are missing and work on it. Act as if you are right, listen as if you are wrong.

â- Live every day as a learning curve, build your confidence day after day. Don't wait for the big things to happen, because while you wait, you might lose focus and interest and never get there.

â- Spirit of generosity. Hospitality is about creating special moments for guests, generosity is the key to add extra value and create loyalty.

â- Networking. Hospitality brings people together from all over the world. Learn from them, ask for help when needed, you will be surprised by how many people will be willing to support you.

â- Be an inspiration for your team. Understand what they want to achieve, celebrate their successes and become their mentor when they fail.

â- Put yourself in your guests' shoes and create a story for them to remember forever.

â- Never forget where you come from and use your background to offer a unique guest experience.

â- Be ready to share your knowledge and passion. Become an ambassador for the industry.


Do you want to encourage more people to consider a career in the industry you love? If so, Springboard is looking for more professionals to join its 1,000-strong network of ambassadors.

You will receive training as part of the programme, which will help you:

â- Develop personally

â- Develop/improve presentation skills and improve confidence

â- Learn new skills

â- Gain recognition in the industry

â- Become a charity volunteer

â- Make a difference to young, unemployed and disadvantaged people

â- Support future talent

â- Change perceptions of the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry

â- Become a talent scout for new employees

â- Be part of Speakers for Schools Campaign

For more information, go to**

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