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Apex Hotels Apprenticeship Programme helps top students progress their careers and education

Posted: 18th August 2016
Students Annie Fowden (left) and Florencia Gago Bigñe.

Students Annie Fowden (left) and Florencia Gago Bigñe.

Two students who were the first to go through the new Apex Hotels and QMU Scholarship Programme have now been offered jobs within Edinburgh-based Apex Hotels and £1,500 each to further their postgraduate education.  The scholarship aims to create a new generation of hospitality leaders who can transform Scotland’s hospitality industry so that it is a key player on the world stage.

Annie Fowden, aged 22 from Grassmarket, and Florencia Gago Bigñe  aged 21 from Portobello, received a bursary and began their management apprenticeship with Apex Hotels in February this year. The new Programme supported both BA (Hons) Events Management students during their final year of study at QMU, and provided each with paid work experience with Apex Hotels. The opportunity allowed the students to gain hands on experience across all areas of the business. They also conducted a research project which aimed to find solutions to internal organisational problems.

The Apex Hotels team was so pleased with the performance of both of students during their stint with the group that it has offered both Annie and Florencia paid positions for the next year. In addition, Apex has set up the Norman Springford award, named after the hotel group’s founder, which provides the students with £1,500 each. This allows both students to continue furthering their education by embarking on a postgraduate degree at QMU whilst also working for the company.

Commenting on her appointment to the apprenticeship programme, Annie Fowden, said: “I’m really excited to have been one of the first QMU students to join the scheme. It is allowing me to develop myself professionally and personally and learn new skills. I now plan to use this experience and my undergraduate degree to apply for the new Master in Public Administration at QMU.”

Florencia Gago Bigñe, who is originally from Madrid in Spain, said: “When I heard about the opportunity to apply for this new apprenticeship scheme, I didn’t think twice.  It was the perfect start for my career, giving me a chance to get a deeper insight into the events and meetings industry.

“Hands on work experience is at the heart of the events industry.  Taking part in this new programme during my final year at QMU has helped me get a clear picture of how the hospitality industry really works from the hotel perspective.

“I am now delighted to be enrolling in the MBA Hospitality at QMU.”

Norman Springford, Managing Director of Apex Hotels, said: “I am very pleased with the outcome of the inaugural Apex Hotels Queen Margaret University Scholarship programme.  The two students who were offered positions at Apex Hotels have demonstrated excellent personal and professional skills that were developed at QMU and within Apex Hotels. This will help make them great assets for our team.  We look forward to the Apex Hotels Scholarship programme continuing in the future to benefit many more students who seek fulfilling careers in the hospitality industry.”

Professor Joe Goldblatt, Development Executive at QMU, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Apex Hotels for its investment in student learning and for working with QMU to develop strong managers who can contribute significantly to Scotland’s important hospitality and tourism industry. The combination of talented students who have both solid work experience with a leading hotel organisation, and excellent academic knowledge, will help to create future managers who can raise industry standards.”

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