Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland has awarded 414 scholarships to those studying or working in the industry. The scholarships were awarded at the annual HIT Talent Conference last week and the recipients range from those just starting out to senior managers, all working or studying in the Scottish hospitality sector.
The hospitality charity also announced the first recipient of a special new award introduced in honour inspirational General Manager, the late Graeme Gibson, who worked in many of Scotland’s top establishments, latterly The Grand Central Hotel, Glynhill Hotel, and then Yotel Glasgow.
The Graeme Gibson Scholarship rewards a rising star working in management in the Greater Glasgow area with four executive coaching sessions to work on their personal and career development, in addition to their scholarship award. This year’s winner is Graeme Walker, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Clayton Hotel Glasgow City.
The Chris Rouse Scholarship is HIT Scotland’s other special award. Awarded in memory of the former GM of the Turnberry Hotel who was known for developing the highest standards for his guests and inspiring the best from his team, Chris was responsible for the transformation of the hotel into a world-leading luxury spa and golf resort. The Chris Rouse Scholarship is awarded to someone working in the Ayrshire area, who shows the same enthusiasm for their career. This year’s Chris Rouse Scholar is Natalaigh Taylor, Marketing Manager at Trump Turnberry, who will likewise benefit from executive coaching sessions.
Seven new scholarships were also announced to reflect the changing needs of the sector: Cornell General Managers Programme; eCornell modules; Resilience; Whisky Appreciation Masterclass; Mental Fitness; Sustainability; and Technology.
David Cochrane, HIT Scotland Chief Executive, added, “HIT Is delighted to announce 414 deserving beneficiaries of scholarships this year. These awards are important for ensuring hospitality talent is nurtured to help people forge successful careers and contribute to this vital Scottish industry.
“We are pleased to announce special awards made in honour of two industry legends. The first Graeme Gibson Scholar is Graeme Walker, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Clayton Hotel Glasgow City, and this year’s Chris Rouse Scholar is Natalaigh Taylor, Marketing Manager at Trump Turnberry. The executive coaching they will receive in addition to their scholarship will help them grow and progress.
“We look forward to following all our scholars progress in future months and years.”
Graeme Gibson Scholarship winner for 2023, Graeme Walker, commented: “I have long admired the work of HIT Scotland, so being selected as the inaugural Graeme Gibson scholarship recipient is truly an honour.
“Graeme is up at the top of the list of brilliant people I have had the good fortune to work with during my career in hospitality. We worked together in the year leading up to his passing, opening a new hotel during a pandemic, which was an interesting challenge. He has helped to inspire not only me but countless others in Scottish hospitality. His passion for our industry and the members of his teams, along with his great sense of humour, are just parts of what made him a fantastic leader and someone who we can all strive to emulate.”
HIT’s scholarship programme is open to anyone in Scotland working in the industry or studying towards a career in hospitality. Scholarships offer learning experiences to help develop new skills, knowledge, best practice and fresh thinking. They focus on business, operational and inspirational empowerment and are tailored to an individual’s aspirations.