Elan Spa Academy wins ‘Emerging Talent Initiative’ at Caterer.com People Awards 2019


At Eden Hotel Collection we are proud to be recognised for our innovative concepts when it comes to recruitment, and that is why we are pleased to announce our new initiative ‘Elan Spa Academy’ has won a Caterer.com People Award 2019 for ‘Emerging Talent Initiative.’

Speaking of the win and the Spa Academy approach, Head of HR Lisa Redding said ‘We are thrilled to have our Spa Academy recognised in the Emerging Talent Initiative category. The opportunity for aspiring Therapists to ‘earn while they learn’ and progress via an apprenticeship route is proving to be a much desired step for many young people. Too often there can be misconceptions surrounding apprenticeships, however, this programme has proved in just one year, that the right approach and commitment from an employer can unlock many success stories. Breaking the stigma around apprenticeships is hugely important to tackling the skills shortages across hospitality and beauty and we’re proud to be recognised for our part in this, not least in doubling our intake of Spa Apprentices for 2019-2020’.

The idea for our Elan Spa Academy was driven by some of the challenges we faced when trying to recruit high quality therapists for our spa’s. Mark Chambers, Group Managing Director, Eden Hotel Collection, highlighted “Therapists coming out of college were not job ready and we felt that we needed to introduce a framework within Eden to nurture and develop that talent ourselves.” With Group Spa Manager, Mary Smith reaffirming this “Recruitment and Staff Retention is consistently one of the biggest problems in the spa industry, part of this recruitment problem stems from the inconsistency in therapist training at college level, therapists are simply not industry ready which results in spas having to invest huge amounts of time and revenue training and developing therapists to bring them up to industry standard. The introduction of EHC Spa Academy has created a real work environment where apprentices can gain firsthand experience whilst working as part of the spa team. Giving them the opportunity to focus on the complete customer journey and develop a complete holistic understanding of the spa experience enabling them to grow into exceptionally talented therapists who will continue to set and promote the standards within the spa industry.”

The programme was designed with the International Beauty and Holistic Academy (IBHA) and sponsored by ESPA, which enabled us to create an entirely bespoke programme, underpinning the student’s apprenticeship modules with further ESPA training at the end of each module.

Following the victory of Elan Spa Academy’s inaugural graduation, we have just celebrated our first ‘graduation’ with our Level 3 students, and already a further 11 apprentices this September for Level 2 and 3 in the hope to progress these apprentices into professional and knowledgeable Spa Therapists.

Speaking with our four Spa Graduates we had an insight into their experiences and opinions about the course. Hannah Roberts, Spa Graduate, Mallory Court, had positive feedback about the course mentioning it’s good to ‘earn whilst you learn’, and also said “It’s really good quality of training, you make really good friendships, I think it’s been really successful.” When talking about future plans with Simrun Sahota, Spa Graduate, Mallory Court, she highlighted “you still get further training after the apprenticeship, which is really good.  I’m only just qualifying in Level 3 but with a years’ experience, I have now just been trained in ESPA Advanced treatments” Maruska Holeckova, Spa Graduate, The Mount Somerset, has big plans for the future with her next move to progress to manager and looking to even advance to an ESPA trainer. When asked about the most challenging part of the apprenticeship, Emily Dixon, Spa Graduate, Bovey Castle, had nothing but praise for the apprenticeship scheme, “it was very well organised – it couldn’t have gone any better really.”

Congratulations to our Spa Graduates and Good Luck to our new Spa Apprentices for this year! To find out more about our spa apprenticeships click here.