March 2014

Rising star Leah in hotel graduate coup

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A former University College Birmingham student has become the first graduate of Hotel La Tour’s management training programme.

Rising star Leah Williams, 25, joined the opening team at the luxury four-star hotel as a part-time waitress in March 2012.

Leah took up a full-time position at the Birmingham city centre hotel a few months later after she graduated with a BA in Hospitality Business Management and was quickly identified for her leadership potential.

Now she has cause for a double celebration –  becoming the first employee to graduate from Hotel La Tour’s management training programme and winning promotion as a conference and events executive.

Leah has set her sights on becoming a general manager by the time she is 30 and has a bright future with the independent Hotel La Tour, which aims to build a number of venues over the next five years.

Hotel operations director Adrian Colman said: “Leah’s personality shone through right from the start. She is a very hard worker, enthusiastic and full of ideas. In short, she really lives the values of our company and we are very proud that she is the first graduate of our mangement training programme.”

The programme gives participants the opportunity to work across all departments and access individual training programmes while being mentored by a senior member of La Tour’s team.

Leah, who worked at Gleneagles Hotel during her university work placement, said the experience had allowed her to flourish and mature as a hospitality professional.

She said: “Before the training programme, I would have described myself as feisty and hot-headed. I have learned that’s not always the most effective way to be and have learnt a lot from working with different managers, who each have their own style.”

She praised the innovative management style at Hotel La Tour, saying: “Your opinions are heard. You really feel that you can influence the business.”Leah said the hotel’s culture had both challenged her own perceptions about career aspirations and broadened her thinking.

She said: “At the start of my training, I would say that conferencing was my least favourite part of the business. Now it’s what I love and where I’ll be working in my new role.”

Originally from Neath in South Wales, Leah said she fell in love with Birmingham when she attended an open day at University College Birmingham (UCB). Her college lecturer, who had herself completed a chef course at the university, recommended UCB and Leah said she knew immediately that her future lay at the Summer Row campus.

Armed with a BTEC national diploma in Hospitality Supervision, Leah joined UCB in 2008 and praised the delivery of the Hospitality Business Management course, in particular the financial management module and the HR content.

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