Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, one of the UK’s largest independent hotel groups, is helping hundreds of young people launch a bright future in hospitality through its new graduate programme.

The 18-month training scheme, which starts up again in September 2017, 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 within the business.

Investing in developing its workforce and creating career opportunities has always been a priority for the Macdonald Hotel Group. 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. As well as two positions in Aviemore and two at the company’s headquarters in Bathgate, hotels offering the scheme include:

Gordon Fraser, deputy chairman and group managing director of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said: “Our training programmes offer excellent experience for young people with a passion for good service and the ambition to work in hospitality. The Macdonald Hotels Group is 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 are creating the hoteliers of the future.”

Case study 1

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, developing my people and ensuring our customers receive the very best service are my top priorities.”

In addition to its new graduate programme, the Macdonald Hotel Group, which has 48 hotels and resorts across the UK, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, has also launched its new Hotelier programme. Created to be the perfect next step for those already working in the hotel group, who are keen to develop their career in hospitality, the new scheme will grow a multi-skilled workforce in all Macdonald hotels and resorts throughout the UK and Europe. Trainees will be nominated by their senior managers and it’s hoped that many staff members will complete the programme in 2017-18.

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.

The Macdonald Hotels Group is also recruiting for an 18-month revenue graduate programme which covers the principles of supply and demand pricing strategies. This programme is being run at Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham and is suited to recent graduates from Business Studies/Finance or IT degree courses.

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