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Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels has announced the expansion of its senior management team, with a number of key appointments ahead of the busy summer season.


The group – which operates some of Scotland’s best-loved hotels including Crieff Hydro and Peebles Hydro – has appointed Gavin Edwards as Head of Learning and Development, while Ryan Gourlay takes on a new role as IT Technical Manager.


With more than a decade of experience working in a variety of senior learning and development roles within Scotland’s hospitality sector, Gavin joins the Crieff Hydro family from Glasgow-based Klarent Hospitality, where he spent over four years supporting the progression of the workforce at hotel groups such as Hilton and Mercure.


With a focus on employee retention within the wider Crieff family, his role will see an overhaul of the group’s onboarding process, while building on the already successful internal training schemes and employee development programmes currently on offer.


Gavin said: “I’m very excited to be joining the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels at a crucial time for Scotland’s hospitality sector. It’s no secret that the industry is facing recruitment challenges and that’s why building a strong portfolio of excellent career progression opportunities for our team is so important to us."


“The service industry sets itself apart from any other sector when it comes to progression. You can join at entry-level and advance relatively quickly into a senior management role compared to other industries due to the soft skills you acquire."


“It’s vital to illustrate these pathways for the team from day one, so establishing a fantastic onboarding process to allow people to feel welcomed, knowledgeable and inspired in their role from the get-go is crucial.”


Gavin’s role will also involve reinvigorating the portfolio’s apprenticeship offering as well as further developing the group’s manager and high-potential programmes.


He continued: “I aim to transform the whole company’s approach when it comes to building on the skills our employees already have by providing them with bespoke opportunities to excel in their careers. By making sure our employees are happy and fulfilled within their roles, excellent service for our guests will inevitably follow.”


Ryan joined the Crieff Hydro family in 2014 as an IT Support Technician, after being made redundant following his previous role as an IT apprentice at Microspec Computer Ltd in Falkirk.


He said: “I joined the Crieff team right at the start of my career, and I still had a lot to learn. My boss at the time described my potential as a ‘ball of clay’, which meant the company was able to shape the skills I had to fit the needs of the business at that time. It was an invaluable start to my career and meant I could gain the experience I needed to continue to progress over the following years.”


He continued: “The employees in the wider Crieff team are so supportive when it comes to development, and they really take the time to ensure that you’re following a career path that works for you."


“There’s a big emphasis on on-the-job training here, which helps you get to the nitty-gritty of how the cogs in the Crieff machine work together. It’s a great place for career development.”

The Crieff Hydro Family’s commitment to developing internal talent within the company has been further spotlighted with the appointment of Niall Kelly, who takes on the role of IT Operations Manager working alongside Ryan.


Niall who joined the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels in 2016– will now oversee IT operations for the full family of hotels within the portfolio having started his career as an IT Support Technician seven years ago.


He said: “I’ve always been impressed with the attention to detail that’s been shown to employees who are keen to progress their careers at Crieff. I joined as an IT support technician and was given fantastic support, guidance and advice when it came to building on my skills and stepping into a senior role. Now, I’m in a position to help support other people in my team who are keen to follow a similar path, and that’s extremely rewarding.”


Stephen Leckie, CEO of Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels, said: “It’s great to welcome Gavin to the business, whilst promoting Niall and Ryan from within the portfolio, and we are certain that these key appointments will bring continued success to the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels."


“We are proud of the fantastic employee culture we have created across our portfolio of hotels, and with the appetite for staycations remaining strong, there has never been a better time to pursue a career in Scotland’s hospitality sector."
“Our commitment to providing fantastic employee development opportunities and clear pathways of progression sets the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels aside from the crowd. We’re all about creating unforgettable memories for our guests – and the only way we’ll do that is with a fantastic team at the helm.”

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