EXCLUSIVE: Graduate programme at Exclusive Collection ‘oversubscribed’ this year as group bucks the trend on recruitment

Pennyhill Park

Exclusive Collection has seen its graduate programme oversubscribed this year and as a result has doubled its headcount, amid the staffing crisis sweeping the hospitality industry.

The Collection, which comprises seven properties including South Lodge and Pennyhill Park, is bucking the trend on recruitment, and its focus on ‘nurture, development and encouragement’ is paying dividends with 16 new graduates appointed for 2021, twice the number hired in previous years.

Speaking to BH, managing director Danny Pecorelli said the response was a ‘good barometer that people want a career in the service industry’, and is to now put plans in place for a new food and beverage academy later in the year.

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“We were so impressed with the applicants we doubled the headcount on the graduate programme this year to 16,” Pecorelli says.

“Our chefs academy too has an incredible draw as upcoming talent understand that we encourage personal development, personal brand building and innovation.

“Sarah Frankland’s career is exemplary – winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, head pastry chef at Pennyhill Park and with a loyal Instagram following of almost 5k.

“And based on our achievement of Michelin stars we will be launching a food and beverage academy later in the year to put our service elements on an equal footing with the kudos being a chef now commands.”

Exclusive Collection runs a two-year graduate management programme, which covers roles across the hotel from housekeeping to guest relations and F&B.

“For some years we’ve had some of the most compelling training programmes for our teams,” says Pecorelli. “We nurture, develop and encourage entrepreneurship and we are proud of the people who have trained with us and have been promoted to leadership positions within our organisation or who have moved on and still share the positive impacts we’ve made on their careers.

“2020 and 21 has exacerbated change for the hospitality sector that, in the long term, can only help further raise the professionalism and desire to work in the sector.”

The lockdown and demand for staff upon the reopening of the hospitality sector as see Exclusive Collection look even closer at its recruitment and retention processes.

Pecorelli adds: “Our aim is to move our teams to the real Living Wage in an effort to retain our amazing people. We’ve looked at our compensation packages at every level and benefits include ample training and development with progression opportunities across the properties, discounts on room nights, F&B, spa treatments, and the cookery school, as well as a % of service charge and Cycle to Work scheme.”

Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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