As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2020, we sat down with Oliver from the Red Carnation Hotels Group to talk about his experience of a degree apprenticeship.

Why did you choose a Degree Apprenticeship over a degree?

I chose a degree apprenticeship because for me, the low contact hours associated with the traditional university route wasn't what I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong, the traditional experience is perfect for certain courses. However, I desired a more hands-on approach. This has allowed me to apply real business situations to certain aspects of my business course, and vice versa.

What was your experience of the application process? Do you have any tips for others going through the application process?

In terms of Pearson the application process for me was well structured and professional, everything an application process should be.

Tell us about a typical day at Red Carnation?

Now a typical day for me would be to wake up 8:30 ish, get ready for the day, check my emails both Academic and professional ones. Work on my University projects between 10-1pm, I will then leave for work starting around 2pm and finishing around 11pm. However, there are many shifts in the Hotel, some days I’m up at 5, other days I start at 10am etc. I’m currently working at Hotel 41, one of Red Carnation’s 5 star properties, Forbes 5 star. I work in Guest Services: my role includes checking and welcoming guests, preparing management reports to use daily, making various reservations and communicating with both internal and external stakeholders.

Is there a project you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of? What did it involve?

A major highlight of his career so far was speaking in front of corporate employees, managers and the Tollman family at the 2019 annual Red Carnation Hotel’s managers conference. Oliver’s service has contributed to Hotel 41 maintaining their Forbes 5-star rating as well as the Hotel being the No 1 hotel on TripAdvisor in London and Europe. Oliver has also represented Red Carnation Hotel’s during National Apprenticeship week at the London Excel centre as well as speaking to schools about Apprenticeships and Red Carnation in London as well.

Have you found any aspect of the Degree Apprenticeship challenging?

I think finding a balance between my professional and social life. I’m very business driven and motivated. Sometimes I find myself working from 7-3:30pm in the hotel then working from 5-8pm on my University work on a Saturday, where as a traditional student would not be doing these kinds of hours. It is tough, and sometimes repetitive. However, the experience I will have gained at the end of my 3 years will be 100% worth it.

What have you found most rewarding?

The people, be it staff or guests. A key skill you need in this industry is being hospitable. I love welcoming guests from across the globe, Hospitality really is an industry where the so-called customers although buying a room for a night etc, what they’re really buying is the service. I love offering good customer service, it’s something I’m very good at.

What would you say to others who are considering a Degree Apprenticeship?

Degree Apprenticeships are the future of higher education, nowadays a lot of graduates who have chosen the traditional route of university struggle when applying for jobs due to their lack of work experience. By doing a Degree Apprenticeship I will graduate with a BA Hons in Business Management, debt free with three years of valuable work experience over students won’t necessarily have.

Degree Apprenticeships really do cover the vast criteria of what modern day employers are now looking for when recruiting graduates, therefore respectfully making us more employable than traditional students. You really do get out what you put in from the process and so far, both Pearson College London and Red Carnation Hotels have allowed me to do so.

If you are interested in Pearson College London's degree apprenticeship programmes, visit the Pearson College London website.