When Mark left school in the 1980s, he says that it was difficult to find a job so he joined a YTS (Youth Training Scheme) in Horticulture. Whilst he says the role was interesting, the cold winter weather made it challenging!
Mark began to earn extra money washing dishes at the local golf club, which he says is where his love of hospitality began. His boss there suggested a career in catering, and before he knew it, he’d signed up for a diploma in Hotel Management at Bournemouth College.
Mark says that he absolutely loved the practical elements of the course, and, apart from once setting fire to his waiters cloth by accident, the course was a success and led him to a summer placement at a 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Paris.
“During my time in Dartmouth I applied for a Scholarship to Cranfield University made available by the Master Innholders and the Worshipful Company of Innkeepers. I was successful and spent two full on weeks at Cranfield on a leadership program which was just incredible and taught me so much, a true turning point for my career.”
Mark now runs the Deer Park Hotel, an opportunity that was presented to him some years ago by the owner who said that if Mark could turn a profit, he’d receive 25%!
Mark says that a career in hospitality is the best decision he ever made.
“It has led to so many opportunities to work all around the world in a huge range of diverse properties and styles of hospitality. You can get to the top at an early age if you have the passion, dedication and drive.
“You don’t need a degree; you need a calm nature, good interpersonal skills, common sense and a BIG sense of humour!!”