By Ian McConnell

A SCOTTISH hotel group has revealed it received more than 200 applications for 12 places on its graduate management programme in the space of 48 hours.

Crerar Hotels is investing more than £1 million in staff recruitment, retention and development, amid labour market challenges arising from the Covid pandemic and Brexit. Its efforts include the launch of the Crerar Academy.

The group noted the graduate posts are the first roles to be advertised under the “Academy” banner. Founded by industry veteran Paddy Crerar, the group has a portfolio of four and five-star properties comprising Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa, Oban Bay Hotel, Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, Golf View in Nairn, Thainstone House, The Glencoe Inn, and Deeside Inn. It has 280 staff. Furloughed staff are back at work, with new employees hired.

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The graduate programme aims to “give the next generation of hospitality leaders their first taste of industry experience”, offering what the group claims is an “unrivalled” remuneration and benefits package alongside work experience and skills development. The 18-month programme provides “hands-on experience” of all aspects of the business, with training and workshops. Graduates receive a minimum annual salary of £25,000 plus “projected additional service charge earnings of around £3,000”, in addition to accommodation, meals and benefits, with the promise of a job placement in the area of their choice at the end of the programme.

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Chris Wayne-Wills, chief executive of Crerar Hotels, says the response “reflects that which the group experienced following the announcement of its investment in people and brand-new employee benefits in June”. Noting Crerar had hired more than 50 staff since unveiling its new employee-benefits package, he added: “It’s very clear our commitments to attracting, retaining and developing the best talent the hospitality industry has to offer have made quite an impact.”