SATURDAY 05 FEBRUARY 2011 • A SPECIAL HOSPITALITY CHALLENGE
On 2 February there was true excitement in the air: 40 students - all aged between 13 and14 - arrived at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons to take part in a very special challenge. They were all from local schools: Lord Williams, Wheatley Park, Marlborough School, Woodeaton Manor School & Gosford Hill School.
My day started at 6.30am, for a briefing with Andrew, my Assistant Manager – Operations, to discuss the details of the Hospitality Challenge: the students had to organise an event at one of five different venues (Le Manoir; Blenheim Palace; Queens College Holiday Inn; Oxford Barceló Hotel). The challenges ranged from a Christening celebration at the Holiday Inn with a budget of £1,750 to an 'Awesome Day' at Le Manoir with a budget £250,000!
On arrival the students were introduced to Andrew and my team. The purpose of the day at Le Manoir was for them to gather information about our industry. It was lovely to see these young people compete in our Hospitality challenge and give their best. And at the same time they were discovering the culture, hospitality and quiet luxury of Le Manoir.
It is so rewarding to work with schools; we have done so for many many years. Young people are the most responsive and they were genuinely excited about the business of hospitality. This is so important, as service is still a big problem in this country.
Andrew, as ever, surpassed himself and delivered both support and inspiration to these young people. And I must say that I enjoyed myself interacting with the students; it brought out the mischievous side in me! I decided to provoke them, and suggested that the three most important elements in life are to:
- discover your passion and share it with others
- be curious: in doing so you will enrich yourself and others
- be innovative: innovation is the almighty ingredient in re-inventing our world that the adults have messed up…
All of them had a good laugh and all agreed.
This was a wonderful day and I was delighted to spend it in the company of these enthusiastic and inspiring young people.
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