Over 300 Scottish hospitality scholarships awarded by industry charity HIT Scotland


HOSPITALITY Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland has awarded 319 scholarships to those studying or working in the Scottish hospitality industry. 

The scholarships were awarded at the annual HIT Talent Conference, which took place yesterday (8th February) at the Voco Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.  

The recipients, who work across a variety of hospitality and tourism roles in 142 different venues throughout Scotland, celebrated their awards to applause from 430 attendees.  

This year saw HIT announce their 7000th inspirational scholarship. The recipient, Amanda Pirie, People Manager at The Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran, will be receiving the prestigious Art of Leadership scholarship. 

HIT Scotland’s scholarship programme is open to anyone working in or studying towards a hospitality career in Scotland. Scholarships offer learning experiences to help develop new skills, knowledge, best practice and fresh thinking. The scholarships are split into three categories – business, operational and inspirational empowerment – with content tailored according to the recipient’s personal development objectives. 

Scholarship Categories 

Business empowerment scholarships include the popular people management programmes, which remains a coveted skill in hospitality roles. Scholarships were offered to first time supervisors receiving their first training in managing a team, to senior managers for the Art of Leadership Scholarship at Lausanne Hospitality Business School in Switzerland, and to one General Manager who will attend the Cornell General Manager Programme in the U.S. 

Operational scholarshipscover a diverse range of learning opportunities. This year there will be chefs taking part in new kitchen-based experiences, restaurant and bar staff learning how to run a whisky tasting, sales training, and employees learning how hotel revenue management affects their role. 

The bespoke inspirational scholarships allow individuals to tell HIT Scotland what will inspire and motivate them to be the best they can be. This year, HIT have announced two special inspirational scholarships. One scholar will receive a French wine experience, exploring the art of fine wine making in a well-established vineyard in France. Another will educate a scholar on brand repositioning with first-hand knowledge from a roster of well-known brands, looking at global branding from another sector.  All bespoke scholars will bring their learnings back home to benefit Scottish hospitality.   

The Open University Scotland also offered places on their Microcredentials courses, covering a variety of learning options from Project Management to Python Programming. 

The Graeme Gibson Award  

Last year a special new award was introduced in honour of inspirational General Manager the late Graeme Gibson, who worked in many of Scotland’s top establishments, latterly The Grand Central Hotel, Glynhill Hotel, and Yotel Glasgow.  

The Graeme Gibson Scholarship rewards a rising star working in management in the Greater Glasgow area with executive coaching sessions to help them work on their personal and career development. This year’s winner is Katie Booth, F&B Manager at the AC Hotel by Marriott Glasgow. 

Chris Rouse Scholarship 

The Chris Rouse Scholarship is HIT Scotland’s other notable award. In memory of the former General Manager of the Turnberry Hotel, Chris Rouse. Chris was responsible for transforming the hotel into a world leading luxury spa and golf resort, and this award goes to managers who likewise uphold the highest standards for guests and inspire the best from their team.  

This year’s Chris Rouse Scholar is Jack McCormick, Bar Supervisor at Trump Turnberry, who will benefit from executive coaching sessions in addition to his chosen scholarship. 

Lisa Wishart Scholarship 

This year a new scholarship opportunity was announced in memory of Lisa Wishart, MD of the Lisini Pub Company, who sadly passed away in 2023. Lisa was an inspirational leader who ran a thriving hospitality company, and was a great ambassador for the trade. 

There have been two Lisa Wishart Scholars named this year due to the fantastic fundraising received from the Scottish Bar and Pub Awards.  

Stephanie Jayne-Robertson, Supervisor at Lisini Pub Co (The Parkville Hotel, Blantyre), will carry out a Customer Experience scholarship, visiting London to learn about service experience and recovery at the Dorchester Collection Academy. 

Meanwhile, Jenny Barlow, General Manager at Scotts Bar and Restaurant in Greenock, will study the Art of Leadership course at the esteemed Lausanne Hospitality Business School in Switzerland. 

David Cochrane, HIT Scotland Chief Executive, said:  

“It is inspiring to have so many of our HIT Scotland scholars in one place to celebrate their achievement this year. These learning experiences are absolutely vital for our sector, allowing fresh ideas to permeate throughout the industry and upskilling the Scottish hospitality workforce.  

“Tailored to each scholar’s individual aspirations, HIT Scotland scholarships are incredibly rewarding and empower people to take charge of their career development, all while benefitting the sector at large. 

“Myself and everyone at HIT Scotland would like to wish all of our scholars the very best for the year ahead, and can’t wait to follow their progress!” 

Katie Booth, Graeme Gibson Scholar for 2024, added:  

“I am so honoured to be the recipient of the Graeme Gibson Scholarship and would like to thank HIT for giving me this opportunity. I hope that as I continue my career in hospitality that I can embody all the amazing attributes that Graeme possessed in all areas of his life and hotel career.  

“I am so excited to be given the time to work with an executive coach to develop my personal management skills and can’t wait to bring back all that I learn to my incredible team here at the AC Hotel” 

HIT Scotland would like to thank the Savoy Educational Trust, The Crerar Trust, The MacRobert Trust, and Diageo Learning for Life, along with their corporate sponsors, for their support of the 2024 scholarship programme. 

To find out more about the scholarships HIT Scotland offer, visit the website: hitscotland.co.uk/scholarships-hit 

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