Scottish Hospitality Industry Invests For the Winning Years

Date: 07/02/2012

A programme worth one million pounds to Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry was unveiled at a conference today (7 February 2012) in Glasgow.

The Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland emerging talent scholarship programme places people on world class learning experiences. This year’s recipients were selected by HIT Scotland to help fill a managerial and craft skills gaps in the workforce.

The charity is warning that the recession has squeezed out pre-managerial positions, potentially leaving Scotland with a lost generation. The warning comes at a critical time for Scottish tourism when they need people to make the step up to meet international tourists’ expectations.

Visit Scotland has identified 2012 to 2014 as the ‘Winning years’ covering the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, Year of Creative Scotland and Year of Homecoming.

The Scholarship programme will see HIT Scotland invest in just over 100 individuals identified as emerging talent in the industry. The term is applied to people at any point in their career who show the aptitude required to take the industry forward. The scholarships aim to encourage leadership, raise standards and provide great learning experiences for all ages within the industry.

The recipients were announced at the HIT Scotland Emerging Talent Conference held today at the Glasgow Science Centre in front of Glasgow born Olympic and World Champion rower Katherine Grainger, who was also speaking at the conference.

The scholarships are now in their eighth year. This year group of industry experts have to evaluate and interview over 300 applications. So far, 800 people have completed a scholarship.

Annually, the programme is estimated to return a million pounds in new skills, promoting best practice, improving staff retention and encouraging professional development. 

Applications were received from across the tourism, leisure, travel and hospitality industry representing over 180,000 people working in one of 18,000 businesses. In total the hospitality industry returns £11.2 billion to the Scottish economy.

Scholars are expected to return with fresh ideas and new skills and actively spread their learning to others. Destinations and experiences include time spent in six star resorts in Dubai, Michelin Star kitchens across the UK and courses at Europe’s best hospitality school in Switzerland.

For the first time HIT Scotland has awarded entrepreneurial and revenue scholarships to encourage better commercial understanding. For senior managers, the charity will award up to two places at the Cornell University’s school of hotel administration

HIT Scotland also provides bespoke Frank Mullen scholarships allowing people to create their own experience.

David Cochrane, Chief Executive of the Hospitality Industry Trust said, “The recession has been felt most by people in the middle stages of their hospitality career. To save costs senior managers became more hands-on while very junior positions were created to ensure the work was completed.

“As an industry we are addressing this challenge. In order to meet the standards expected by international tourists we need to up our game, but the people who could do this and manage this change need to be invested in and provided with great learning opportunities to move their business and teams forward.

“That’s where our scholarships come in. The idea is not just to identify the missing managers but find people who are able to inspire others and lead the industry to make the most of the winning years”

Students from City of Glasgow College with Katherine Grainger

Katherine Grainger MBE said, “Successful games in London and Glasgow won’t be down to just the athletes. Young people, working in places such as the hospitality and tourism industry, have a huge role to play to ensure success in the eyes of the world. I hope my experiences and journey will help inspire them to represent Scotland and the UK in their profession lives as well.”

On the conference, Peter Fisk said, “Economic downturns are times of great shake-up when innovators can capture new moods and gaps in the market. Hospitality has seen less innovation than most sectors. It will be the emerging talent of the industry who take these opportunities, who try new ideas and ways thinking and dare to be different. They should forget Tripadvisor and think like the Thunder Show, instead of Facebook try Path, switch off X Factor and learn from their X Box. It is up to them to shape the future of hospitality.”

Captain Nick Bates, said, “Having worked on some of the most famous Cruise ships in the world I can quite empathise with HIT Scotland and the Emerging Talents they help to support.  The service industry is one of the most important in Scotland and it is a pleasure for me to help share some of my experiences and encourage those who are making a career in the Hotel and catering industry.”

Shirley Spear, proprietor of the Three Chimneys, in Skye said, “The conference is wonderful chance to speak to people not only about the great career paths in hospitality but about the opportunities working for small and rural businesses.”

The HIT Scotland Emerging Talent Conference is supported by Skills Development Scotland, People 1st, Xpress recruitment and Jupiter Hotels.

The scholarship program is funded through events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, London and Aberdeen. Sponsorship also comes from some of the biggest names in the hospitality business; I am Clothing Solutions, Brakes, Wiseman Dairies, Philips, Enterprise Rent a Car, and Highland Spring.


For more information please contact Joe Walton at Real PR on 07968022684 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Picture credit to Lewis Houghton

Company Profile

The Hospitality Industry Trust, known as HIT Scotland, is a Scotland based charity, which raises funds to support and encourage excellence in the hospitality industry.

Through practical support, which includes bursaries, scholarships and industry events, HIT Scotland helps those training to enter the industry and those already within. The overall objective is to help all to their full potential and further enhance and maintain the excellent skillbase within Scotland

  • Please find the latest news from HIT Scotland to the left.
  • For pictures and video files please contact us.
  • HIT Scotland Website.

As well as the latest news we have a number of Scholar case studies and can advise on HIT Scotland suitability for comment on any article do with Scottish hospitality, training and standards. If HIT Scotland are unable to help we will likely know of someone involved who can.

For more information on HIT Scotland please contact Joe Walton at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or phone 07968022684.