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An Interview with the General Manager of the Yarrow Hotel

Lee Osborn became the General Manager of the Yarrow Hotel, set within Broadstairs College Campus grounds, in 2016. Since then his team have worked hard to build a respectable name for the hotel and gained a large client base. Lee has always been passionate about Hospitality and is an advocate for allowing young people the chance to gain work experience and join the industry.

Why should a student consider going into the Hospitality industry?

I feel now is the prime opportunity to step into hospitality. Following the national lockdown, it is more important than ever to support the industry. Many individuals working within hospitality and catering have since retrained and moved onto other careers, leaving large gaps in recruitment for many restaurants, hotels, and amongst the events industry. As the nation begins to rebuild this sector, there are currently many opportunities for young people to step into the world of work. Therefore, students with an interest should apply for college courses and part-time work now; and we, as professionals, should invest in their learning and progression.

I would always advise any student who enjoys working with people to go into hospitality. When recruiting new staff my moto is always; ‘recruit for personality, train for skill’. I’m a firm believer that personality is key within this industry. If putting a smile on someone’s face excites you, you’re halfway there already. If you have great interpersonal skills, you’re hardworking and enjoy problem solving and thinking outside of the box, this is the industry for you.

I always promote hospitality as an industry full of growth. It is a sector in which you’ll continually learn new life and work skills on the job. If you’re willing to learn and work hard there are many progression routes available for you to build a career quickly. Personally, I love seeing my employees succeed. At the Yarrow we take pride in growing the talents of our staff and promote staff progression, rarely advertising senior positions externally.

Why should students consider studying Hospitality at Broadstairs?

I believe students studying with Broadstairs College get a unique experience. Not only is the teaching of high standard, but students also gain professional industry experience by working with us. Broadstairs is one of very few colleges in the country that has a fully functioning hotel on site, and that should be celebrated. Students gain work experience with us and try their hands in a variety of areas including reception, bar work and catering. They have the chance to try different departments and find where they’re most comfortable and confident before moving into the world of work. There are many different progression routes available to students, and the Yarrow Hotel is proud to offer work experience in many of these.

We welcome Broadstairs College students and treat them as we do our staff members. Our guests also buy into this and enjoy watching them learn on the job. We always hope to give the students that come to us the best learning experience, many of whom we end up offering additional, paid work.

What is your background?

I started my journey in the Hospitality industry from an early age, securing a job with the Co-Operative Group soon after leaving education. Whilst working at Sainsbury’s I was fortunate enough to complete their management training scheme and soon progressed onto more senior positions. Over the years I have honed my skills and knowledge of the industry, working as an Area Manager in London for contract caterers dealing with large brands such as Marks & Spencer and Millie’s Cookies, and as General Manager at Whitstable Castle. I joined the team at the Yarrow Hotel in 2016 and spent two years managing a department before taking on the role as General Manager. Since then I’ve enjoyed meeting a variety of clientele as we’ve built a reputable name within the South East and expanded our client base.

What do you enjoy about the Hospitality industry?

I have always had a passion for hospitality and making people smile, so it was an obvious career path to pursue. I find there is something special about working with people, whether it be customers or my fellow colleagues. I enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life and hearing about their various backgrounds. No day is ever the same, and the chance to provide a personal and memorable experience for every guest that walks through our doors excites me.

Our industry relies on engaging with people and being personable. There really is a sense of ‘family’ amongst colleagues. We spend so much time working with one another that I feel it is important to have an inclusive atmosphere within the workplace, where everyone feels respected. I pride myself on ensuring our workplace is a fun, open environment and care a great deal about my staff and their wellbeing. Our work colleagues are like extended family, so it is important that everyone enjoys what they’re doing, can continue learning every day and are open to sharing their experiences.