‘The act of reflecting is one which causes us to make sense of what we’ve learned, why we learned it, and how that particular increment of learning took place. Moreover, reflection is about linking one increment of learning to the wider perspective of learning – heading towards seeing the bigger picture.’ (Race, 2002)
Hinett exclaims that ‘reflection helps raise our awareness of ourselves as learners and to see that we can direct and change our learning’. (Hinnett, n.d.) It is important to understand that reflection is for personal use in order to see where your skills are at presently and how you can improve and develop them in order to assist you in the future with your career and life.
From my placement year I wanted to learn as much as I could in the short time that I had, I knew that to do this I needed to work in multiple departments to grasp knowledge on different areas and aspects of the business. I also knew that in order to provide the high level or service that is expected in the hotel that I worked in then I needed to know enough information in order to give guests accurate advice and answers to their questions.
Through speaking with the operations manager of the hotel I was able to ensure I could move around different departments of the hotel to see a bit of everything rather than seeing just one department in an extremely detailed way.
Although working in an extremely high standard environment was nerve-wracking to begin with I feel as though I adapted well to the environment and settled into my roles at the hotel quickly. From my time at Pennyhill Park I believe I gained a lot of experience that is extremely valuable to me for my later career. Having worked in reservations, The Latymer, and reception I was able to see the whole process of a guests stay at the hotel, from their initial booking right through until their departure from the hotel.
The skills that I feel I have improved on are Customer service, Confidence, Organisation, Attention to detail and computing skills. The skills that I believe I have attained from my time on placement are Sales skills, administration and telephone skills. I also believe I have obtained a much more positive outlook as from attending a Quick Steps training program we were pushed towards using much more positive verbal and body language when speaking with guests. For example, rather than using negative language and dwelling on the fact that I may not be able to meet some guest’s requests I would think of an alternative that they may prefer. Something that is extremely important when working so closely with customers is to show them that you are there to serve and cater for them, no question or request that they have is too big or too small to tackle.
I strongly believe that experience through a placement year is such valuable experience because during a placement year you have the freedom and the opportunity to move around the different departments within the workplace that you are at. This therefore enables you to see a lot more and gain a lot more knowledge and experience than if you were to be working in one department for a full year. First-hand experience, from working within the departments themselves, is a lot more valuable and important that just hearing and reading about experiences from fellow colleagues. A placement or internship is something I would recommend to anyone that is taking up any type of study.