Our class of 2021 really are something to shout about. They’ve overcome challenges, helped others, grasped opportunities and developed their skills, showing their Essex Spirit in so many ways. And they’ve done it all during a pandemic when student life has been changed beyond recognition. We couldn’t be prouder of them so we’re telling their stories.
Wed 14 Jul 21
Matthew Laws always knew he wanted to work in hospitality and be part of people’s special occasions so studying at Edge Hotel School, where he had the chance to work at the Brit Awards, was a no brainer. And he’s landed a great job at the end of it too.
Matthew, who’s from Essex, completed his BA Events Management in August 2020, just as the hospitality industry started to open up after the UK’s first national Covid-19 lockdown.
Despite the hospitality sector feeling the full force of the pandemic, Matthew secured a Graduate Manager/Training Hotel Manager role at Haycock Manor Hotel, renowned as one of the best hotels in Cambridgeshire.
“I am on a bespoke training plan that requires me to work in different departments and gather an understanding of how they are managed at a head of department level and into operations,” he said.
Working in a hotel much larger than Wivenhoe House Hotel has brought challenges but Matthew credits his Edge experience with preparing him for the role: “Edge gave me a great opportunity to gain knowledge of different areas and management styles which meant I could quickly gain an understanding and idea of how they work and what they expect at Haycock Manor.”
“I am working with a great new team with a huge amount of experience from across the globe and that gives me a huge opportunity to learn and develop,” he added.
It gives Matthew the opportunity to work in a sector that’s always appealed: “I have always wanted to get into hospitality as I enjoy the varied days and being a part of guests’ special experiences,” he said.
"Edge gave me a great opportunity to gain knowledge of different areas of management styles which meant I could quickly gain an understanding and idea of how they work and what they expect as Haycock Manor."
Whilst at Essex Matthew was lucky enough to be chosen to represent Edge at the Brit Awards, where he hosted a VIP box.
Working with the VIP Suites Supervisor, Matthew grasped the opportunity with both hands: “I really tried to get stuck in, actively helping my supervisor rather than just shadowing her in order to gain as much knowledge as possible about the operation at the O2,” he said.
Working in a completely new venue, with a new team he’d only just met required belief and confidence that he’s now applying in his role at Haycock Manor, and it was an experience he’ll never forget: “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was an experience I will always remember especially because of how big the event is and what it stands for.”
Matthew, who also played for the University squash team at Essex, believes looking after staff is key to improving guest experiences in hotels: “I would like to progress onto a higher management role within a venue that really focuses on its team and where there’s development and a healthy work-life balance as I feel this will lead to better overall service being provided.”