Bluestone Academy appoints an ambassador to help develop careers in tourism and hospitality

Pembrokeshire’s Bluestone Academy, set up to help enthuse and develop careers in the area’s tourism and hospitality sectors, has appointed an ambassador to develop training and skills.


Neil Hillary, who up until recently was Head of Food and Beverage at Bluestone National Park Resort, near Narberth, takes up the role working alongside Helen John, Academy Manager.


The Academy was set up by the Bluestone resort last year as part of a vision originally set out by its founder and CEO, William McNamara. He wanted to enthuse young and older people to pursue long-term careers in the region’s tourism and hospitality sectors.


Neil will work with businesses, organisations, and stakeholders throughout the area to develop programmes and opportunities for high-quality courses and training and paid work experience within the industry, including Bluestone itself which employs more than 700 people.


“Neil has invaluable experience working in food and hospitality, for the large part at Bluestone, and his knowledge and understanding is second to none. That’s what makes him an ideal ambassador and advocate to nurture and encourage more people into such worthwhile careers,” said Stuart Jaynes, Head of People Services at Bluestone.


“He will work closely with Helen John, the Academy Manager, to develop courses and training, among other initiatives, that offer good opportunities to attract and retain people in the industry.


“Tourism and hospitality is a significant part of West Wales’ economy, not only employing hundreds of people, but attracting investment, tourism and spend in the region. WE need to have the people in place to support it now and in the future.”


One of the aims of the Bluestone Academy is “…to transform the perception of careers in the tourism industry by investing in people and providing professional work-based learning opportunities, designed and delivered by the businesses that need them.”


Neil said: “I’ve worked in the industry for many years. I’m very passionate about it and helping to bring in new talent as well as developing what we already have. There are some great careers in the industry, and we need to market that to young people and others looking to change careers.


“By providing the right opportunities through training, skills and work experience, we can ensure we have the right people in good jobs in the area, helping strengthen what is an important industry for the region.”


The Bluestone Academy has already successfully helped bring several young people into the industry through its Kickstart Scheme.


Kickstart, in conjunction with JobCentre Plus, aims to get long- unemployed young people on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment on to a work-based training placement.


More than 30 16-to-24-year-olds will eventually benefit from the UK-government Kickstart programme being run at the Bluestone resort.


Academy Manager, Helen John, said: “We believe their training and work experience will benefit tourism and hospitality businesses throughout West Wales as well as giving so many young people the opportunity of an exciting and rewarding career.”