Congratulations to Whitbread Apprentice James McKenzie Roberts

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James McKenzie Roberts: Hotel Manager

Premier Inn, Newcastle Cramlington & Ashington

Apprenticeship: Hospitality Manager Level 4 – Distinction

Progression opportunity: The next step would be the Operations Departmental Manager Level 5


Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

I struggled with education growing up, it just didn’t work for me. I found out in my teenage years that I have dyslexia, which explained a lot. I tried hard to get a good education, and went to university, however, after trying two different courses, decided education wasn’t for me and left with no qualifications.

Almost 15 years on, I have found ways to use Dyslexia as a strength and not only come to terms with having it, but I have embraced it. I have found acceptance with the person I have become and the things I have achieved but had a certificate sized hole in my goals.

The apprenticeship was an opportunity to do something I once believed I couldn’t.

What was the benefit of doing an apprenticeship?

I was able to take the years of skills and knowledge I had gained and apply them in a way that would be marked with a clear pass or fail. I have seen that my actions and behaviours can drive or influence results in the business. However, there are always other factors that can have an impact, such as luck, people, or external factors. The apprenticeship, however, was all on me, my work and my exams, there would be no doubt if I had achieved or failed.

This was a great way to help my self-belief and encourage me that, “you can do this!”

What was the biggest learning you’ll take away from your apprenticeship?

A positive attitude is key. The learning is there for anyone to do, the challenge is believing that you can! I have said this to my team over the years, "The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It's about what you're made of, not the circumstances." I however didn’t apply this to myself.

I started this program saying I would be happy to get a pass, as that would get me my certificate. My regional trainer Dean, and Functional Skills trainer Emily, helped me to aim higher and go for the distinction.

 I couldn’t be happier and prouder to say I not only achieved my goal, I smashed it!  

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