Student Spotlight: Blake Graham – Rydges Kensington London

One of the great things about completing Industry Placements (IP) as part of your degree, is that you can undertake them anywhere in the world. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore a place you have never been, whilst working and completing your university degree. Bachelor of Business student, Blake Graham shares insight into his journey so far in London, with Rydges Kensington London.

BM

What is your role within Rydges?

I am a Food and Beverage Attendant. Primarily I work front of house in the restaurant as a waiter. I have also been fortunate enough to cross-train in the bar. I work the breakfast, afternoon tea or dinner shift, or a combination thereof. I prefer working in the bar or on a dinner shift, as the customers tend to be more social and I can get to know them.

BM

Who are the clientele that stay at the property?

Rydges Kensington London tends to attract guests staying on business and Australian tourists. Many of the clientele stay on a weekly or fortnightly basis. You have opportunities to get to know many of the regulars well. Having Australian guests also means they all want to talk to you and know why you are here.

What is it like to work for Rydges?

Rydges is a fantastic brand to work for. The property in Kensington, London is compact with a small team running the hotel. Making for one big family. Everyone knows everyone.

BM

When choosing a brand for your first IP, where you looking at any one in particular?

Choosing my first IP, I based my decision primarily on location rather than brand. I was open to try any brand or hotel; it was a coincidence that I ended up with an Australian brand.

What attracted you to complete your first IP overseas?

Having already travelled to many different places I wanted to explore somewhere I had not been. London has a great reputation, and is a safe option for someone living overseas for the first time. In addition, I knew it was going to be cold and rainy whilst I was here. Not being a fan of the sun, the weather was another great attraction.

Have you adjusted to life overseas?

Living overseas is fantastic, it has been easy to adjust. Being responsible for myself has been a lot of fun. I had travelled to a vast variety of countries before I came to London. But, with all that travel I had never lived overseas. This has been a new experience for me.

Do you have any travel plans in place whilst you are abroad?

As of now I don’t have any travel plans outside of the UK. Although I am considering traveling up to Norway before I head back to Australia in January. I will see how I am feeling closer to the time. There certainly won’t be much sun!

BM

Have you any advice for BMIHMS students considering an overseas IP?

Start organising your placement as soon as possible. You can’t afford to do everything last minute. The process to obtain a visa can be quite lengthy.

Blake is studying a Bachelor of Business at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) at Torrens University. His degree specialises in International Hotel and Resort Management and contains two six-moth industry placements.