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“The world is your oyster”: Careers in Luxury Hospitality

Posted: 22 July 2019

The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle is one of the world’s most prestigious private members’ clubs. While the historic setting, beautiful surroundings, luxurious amenities, exceptional food and wines, and the incredible range of activities on offer are an integral part of its appeal, it is the seamless service from the team that works at the club who make the Skibo experience so special for members.

With an internationally renowned reputation for delivering exceptional service the club continues to attract some of luxury hospitality’s top talent to the Scottish Highlands, and it also nurtures home-grown talent through both Modern Apprenticeships and the continued training and development of existing staff.

The Gardens and Greenkeeping departments at the club have a long history of training apprentices, and in recent years the club has expanded the scheme. There are currently seven apprentices at Skibo: one in SVQ2 Food and Beverage Service; one SVQ2 and one SVQ3 in Professional Cookery; one in SVQ2 in Sports Turf: Greenkeeping; and three RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture. Additionally, candidates are currently interviewing for the new SVQ3 Social Services (Children and Young People), and an SVQ2 in Housekeeping will be advertised shortly. The SVQs are all undertaken through Inverness College UHI, while the RHS course is through Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.

Gardeners working

The Carnegie Club's gardeners at work

Asked what it is about Skibo that attracts the apprentices, the club’s People & Development Manager Manuela Flueckiger says: “Luxury hospitality is a global industry; one that can take you from the Alps to the Bahamas to the Far East. The Carnegie Club is recognised internationally as being in the top tier of the service industry – learn your trade here and the world is your oyster.”

Hospitality is the third largest industry in the UK, employing 3.2 million people which equates to almost 10% of the nation’s workforce, and hospitality employment continues to grow at c.2% year on year.1 What this means is that hospitality is one of the UK’s most vibrant sectors, and one which – with its myriad of different roles and pathways for progression – offers fantastic opportunities for advancement.

Manuela hopes, however, that having started at Skibo the club’s apprentices find that the opportunities for progression mean that they want to stay here with us and continue to develop their skills. At The Carnegie Club, this can mean being sent on placement to some of luxury hospitality’s most esteemed hotels, like The Beaumont, The Goring and The Ritz. 

Great Hall at Skibo Castle

Skibo Castle's Great Hall; Front of House Supervisor Kyle Mackay

Kyle Mackay knows how valuable an apprenticeship can be. Having started work part-time at Skibo as a butler while he studied at university, he found that he enjoyed working at the club. In 2015 the opportunity arose to train as a Scottish Apprentice in Hospitality (SAH) at The Carnegie Club. SAH is a three-year programme where participants gain experience across a range of departments in a host venue, earning an SVQ Level 3 in Hospitality Services. He completed the apprenticeship in 2018, and now works as Front of House Supervisor. “For me, the apprenticeship was a really good way to learn on the job: I got practical, hands-on experience as I progressed.” Kyle will soon undertake an SVQ4 in Hospitality Management Skills with the support of the club. “I want to continue to develop my skills, and I feel really lucky that the team at Skibo has given me the tools and knowledge that I need to continue to grow.”

Kitchen at Skibo Clubhouse

Demi Chef de Partie Stephanie Campbell; the Skibo Clubhouse kitchen

Another member of staff benefiting from the club’s focus on continued professional development is Stephanie Campbell, who started work at the castle eleven years ago as a Kitchen Porter. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school, so I worked here for a year as a KP and then started working two days a week as a Commis Chef.” She soon started working full-time as a chef, and hasn’t looked back since. Last year, Executive Chef Craig Rowland suggested that she undertake an apprenticeship in SVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery. Having completed the course, Stephanie was promoted to Demi Chef de Partie. This year, she is completing SVQ Level 3. As mum to five-year-old Tyler, Stephanie must balance parenting with her full-time job and her coursework. “It’s a challenge,” she says, “but I’ve accomplished so much over the last two years. I’m really grateful to the club for the opportunity to gain these qualifications, and to progress in my career.” 

The club recognises that people are Skibo’s most valuable resource, and that supporting them as they develop professionally is key not only to the individual’s professional success, but to the club as a whole. For those who are already established in their careers, the opportunities at Skibo to develop and grow their skillset is clear. And for those just starting out, Chairman Peter Crome says, “an apprenticeship at The Carnegie Club is a great opportunity for young people who want to get a taste for the hospitality industry at one of its most highly regarded establishments, and gaining this experience at Skibo will set them fair for the future.”

Find out more about working at The Carnegie Club on our Careers at Skibo website. 

1Figures from ‘The Economic Contribution of the UK Hospitality Industry (2018)' 

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