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Growing our own: Alex Richards’ story

As the Brend Training Academy approaches its third year, currently placing 140 students, we will be looking at some of the incredible journeys of some of our staff and students.

“People are our strength and the investment in training and development has proved a very important way of ‘growing your own’ staff. We are a family company that values its employees and encourages them to stay long-term. Training and now the new apprenticeships are an excellent way of developing and enhancing skill levels for the future.” - Director Peter Brend Senior.

Alex Richards – from part time waiter to hotel manager in eight years.

Alex started work at the Royal and Fortescue Hotel as a part time waiter while at college in 2007, training to be a teacher. He enjoyed the job so much he decided to stay within the hospitality industry, learning his basic skills and customer focused techniques.

He then continued to work at the hotel in a number of roles, including portering and front of house, and was promoted to junior assistant manager in 2009. The role was challenging, to say the least, and required lots of new skills and training, which Brend Hotels provided through in-house training and external courses. In 2015 Alex went on to become manager of 62 The Bank, a bistro restaurant that is part of the group.

He explains: “There were several reasons I chose this career over my original career path. I enjoy working with people, and each day was different. It was also a way to extend my skills base and get a recognised qualification. Another really important part was that you learn by doing the job, not just being told about it.

“I was attracted to Brend Hotels, which has 11 luxury hotels in Devon and Cornwall, and I thought by being able to work in different hotels I’d get a more varied experience and that would improve my skills even more, enabling me to grow in confidence personally as well as professionally.”

Alex is now hotel manager for the Royal and Fortescue Hotel in Barnstaple. He recently completed his foundation degree with the company through our partnership with HIT Training and is a great believer in training and bringing on new members of staff.

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