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Students impress during five-star London work experience


November 03, 2023 - 304 views

Coleg Llandrillo hospitality learners Yuliia Batrak and Rhian James served guests at The Cadogan hotel in London, and on the luxury British Pullman train which took passengers to the set of Downton Abbey.

Two Coleg Llandrillo hospitality students completed a high-end work experience placement in style, serving guests at a five-star London hotel and on a luxury train.

Yuliia Batrak and Rhian James spent a day at The Cadogan, a Belmond hotel between Chelsea and Knightsbridge, where the most expensive suites can cost more than £5,000-per-night.

They then spent a full day working on Belmond train the British Pullman, serving a three-course brunch to passengers who were paying £680-per-head, followed by a three-course evening meal on the return journey.

The students took a huge amount from both experiences as they look towards their future careers in hospitality.

Rhian, from Llandudno Junction, who is studying Level 3 Restaurant Supervisory, said: “It was amazing, there was so much to soak in.

“To work in a five-star hotel, it’s a complete jump. It was a complete difference to go from casual work to a higher standard, but what I enjoyed was hearing that everybody wanted to be there - they all had a passion for the job.”

Yuliia, from Colwyn Bay, who is studying Level 2 Professional Cookery, said: “In the hotel we were shadowing the staff, doing a couple of hours in each position. We did the bar, the restaurant, concierge, and housekeeping.

“We were able to ask a lot of questions and learn a lot about how the industry works at the high end. It was interesting to see how important the small details were, how the customer is always at the centre. We also learned how to communicate, and how to sort out any problems.

“I really want to open my own restaurant in the future, and I was able to ask questions about how they judge Michelin-starred restaurants. It was really helpful to me for my future.”

After a full day shadowing staff in one of London’s top hotels, an even more demanding task lay ahead, with the students fully immersed in serving six courses on the British Pullman.

The luxury train experience was taking guests to Highclere Castle - the sprawling estate where Downton Abbey was filmed - and the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery in Hampshire.

After getting up in the early hours to start work on the British Pullman at 7am, Yuliia and Rhian impressed staff and passengers with their service skills, and were even invited to judge a Bake Off-style competition that was held on the train as part of staff mental health awareness training.

Rhian said: “It was definitely hard work. It was full-on, but I enjoyed it, even more than the hotel! I want to work on cruise ships so it was a great experience, and all the staff were all happy to give as much advice as they could.

“We judged a Bake Off the staff were having for World Mental Health Day, so they were really involving us in everything.

“There are so many different opportunities offered here at the college, it’s always exciting.”

Yuliia echoed that, saying: “We are really grateful to the college for giving us opportunities like this. Hopefully in the future there will be more and more.”

Hospitality lecturer Glenydd Hughes said: “It was really nice seeing the two learners work, how they interacted with customers, and communicated so well with all the staff.

“It was a good experience for them to get out of the North Wales bubble and see the big cities and how they operate, and the opportunities there are outside of hotels and restaurants as well.

“They did the college proud, and showed what Llandrillo learners can achieve.”

British Pullman train manager Adam Hill said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the students from Llandrillo.

“They excelled in every way. Their attention to detail and questions were a credit to them and the college. The students assisted the team on board with the core vision being about perpetuating the art of luxury travel. The team and I hope to welcome them back again soon.”

For more information about Hospitality and Catering courses at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, click here. Applications open in November for September 2024 entry.