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08 March 2022

Apprenticeships are the future of the hospitality industry

Blog: Rohaise Rose-Bristow of the Torridon hotel shares her thoughts through her blog for Scottish Apprenticeship Week, on why apprenticeships are so crucial to Scotland’s hospitality sector.


Rohaise Rose-Bristow, owner and people director at the Torridon, is a passionate advocate for apprenticeships and a member of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board’s Group Board. This Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Rohaise shares why apprenticeships are so crucial to Scotland’s hospitality sector.  

I’ve always had a passion for hospitality, from my first job waitressing at Inverlochy Castle as a teenager to now being the owner and people director at The Torridon. The pandemic has brought to light the importance of the industry to all of our lives. Hospitality is so much more than just going out for a nice meal – it provides a platform for us to be among family and friends, to meet and engage with our community. This sense of belonging is something we’ve all so desperately missed over the past couple of years. 

To me, this also makes hospitality the best environment for a young person to start their career – and we need apprenticeships to ensure they get all the right skills and support on the way. 

Apprenticeships work for the learner 

Apprenticeships provide young people with the skills they need to be successful in today’s world of work – earning and learning all while fully supported by their employer and learning provider. An apprentice’s workplace should be a community that looks after and nurtures them to grow and develop. 

The Torridon signed up to the Young Person’s Guarantee (YPG) to assure young people of our commitment to providing them with security and opportunity when they choose a career with us. I would encourage any employer to sign up to the YPG to show that they are a company a young person should want to work for, committed to nurturing their talent.  

Apprenticeships work for hospitality 

In hospitality, our skills gaps are at the top. We rely on apprenticeships to actively recruit and develop the future leaders of our industry. Being part of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB) enables me to learn from other sectors and businesses and share best practice. 

Along with our partners, the Torridon have developed a unique apprenticeship programme tailored to our needs. I chair the Apprenticeship in Hospitality Scotland (AHS) programme, which has been set up with the shared goal of filling a gap in collaboration around apprenticeships. As Scotland’s leading hospitality businesses, we wanted to be able to offer apprenticeships from the far North of Scotland all the way down to the Borders. Leading a rural business, it is important to me that our apprenticeships don’t become a lonely experience for the individual. 

AHS is a professional training programme, over a three-year period. In their first two years, participants work towards their Modern Apprenticeship qualification with one of our learning providers, while developing their skills through rotation across four key departments of the business. They then specialise in their third year, moving into a managerial or supervisor role while studying towards a management qualification. 

In hospitality, our skills gaps are at the top. We rely on apprenticeships to actively recruit and develop the future leaders of our industry.

Rohaise Rose-Bristow

Owner and People Director, The Torridon hotel

Apprenticeships work for the Torridon 

We have now been offering apprenticeships for seven years and have only just bid farewell to our first ever apprentice, who left a post in our senior management team. A former Apprentice of the Year, she is the perfect example of everything we had hoped to gain from our apprenticeship programme, and we are proud to have developed a leader for the Scottish hospitality industry. 

In our remote location, it can be difficult to retain staff over many years. Apprenticeships are giving us the opportunity to attract both local young people as well as talent from further afield and give them the skills and confidence to excel and progress through our business. I find it especially heartening to see former apprentices take a new cohort under their wing and pass on their own skills and experience. They are proof that apprenticeships work – and will continue to do so for our sector.