News & Blog

Read the latest business news, blogs and thought leadership articles from our members, as well as updates on the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce's work in the city.

News & Blog

Hospitality team embrace training with thousands of hours committed

Posted: 8th July 2021

FURLOUGHED staff for a hospitality business in the heart of the Scottish capital have amassed more than 2600 hours of recorded training in the past year, securing a combined 169 industry-recognised qualifications.

Surgeons Quarter, which operates the city’s largest independent hotel alongside a host of venues and outlets owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), reinforced its culture of learning prior to the pandemic, with the appointment of a Business and Talent Manager.

It meant that as Covid-19 hit, it was able to work with employees, furloughed and working, to devise a training plan to boost their prospects and career ambitions – in keeping with government recommendations to encourage and facilitate professional development.

Sarah Williamson, who took on the newly created role and managed just a few short weeks with her team before working from home, has helped more than 60 workers achieve new accreditations.

Sarah, from Linlithgow in West Lothian, said: “Multiskilling is going to be the biggest aspiration in the hospitality industry after Covid-19 as many venues will have a smaller team, so staff will be required to do a bit of everything.

“There was a lot of amazing training happening within the industry whilst many were furloughed and we encouraged all 60 members of staff to take part and get full advantage of the opportunities.

“We have supplied laptops and tablets for individuals to complete training to ensure the opportunities were available and accessible to all staff.”

Staff have been encouraged to take part in courses available with industry bodies including, HIT Scotland and Hospitality Action, on top of the £3,400 investment which was made to FLOW – the company’s online training facility.

FLOW includes lots of Covid-19 health and safety modules as well as the statutory training requirements.

Nine employees were also successful with an application to the HIT Scotland scholarship, a 10-week virtual learning leadership course.

Further training has been made available through the Flexible Workforce Development Fund in partnership with the Scottish Government which is worth £5000 and will include online training courses with Edinburgh College.

Certificated courses on offer through Edinburgh College include Social Media and Content Creation, Sales Skills and IOSH Managing Safely.

Sarah added: “Some may think with our team returning to work from furlough the training opportunities will stop, however it’s actually the complete opposite – we have more to come and a calendar of training planned up until November.

“I feel very lucky to be part of a company who care about their staff and individual development, with the opportunity to get involved in areas of the business that are of interest.”

Prior to joining Surgeons Quarter, Sarah was Human Resource Manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa & Golf Resort and before that worked with Holiday Inn Edinburgh.

Surgeons Quarter’s profits go towards the College’s charitable objectives of improving surgical standards and patient outcomes worldwide.

Ten Hill Place accommodated frontline NHS workers for 2137 nights, at a cost of £100,000 and provided thousands of free meals to workers.

Bookings for Ten Hill Place can be made at, by calling 0131 662 2080 or by emailing

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
Read more here