Originally from Aberdeen, 20-year old Nidal Aslam took an interesting route to find his passion for hospitality. Having moved to Colchester, he left school with a clutch of high grade GCSEs and A levels being particularly adept in chemistry and maths. Nidal studied chemical engineering at the University of Bradford, but was disappointed to find the course was focused on physics.
He made the decision to leave at the end of his second year and took a year out to weigh up his options. Nidal worked in a series of different roles – Assistant Manager in a restaurant, in catering and as a football referee – but becoming a trainee manager at his local Odeon made him realise that hospitality was the career for him.
While being situated in Colchester meant Nidal could make savings on accommodation and living expenses, he says the primary reason he chose the Edge Hotel School (EHS) to kick-start his career was because it was the only university to offer the opportunity of ‘learning by doing’.
Nidal says, ‘Things like emotional intelligence are essential for a client-focused role and can’t be learned from text books, so the experience gained working at the four-star Wivenhoe House Hotel is invaluable.’
‘Essential skills such as work ethic, empathy, self-awareness, integrity and personality fit are critical success factors in the hospitality industry.’
The opportunities for scholarships and networking offered by the EHS were additional factors in his choice of university.
‘The EHS is incredibly well-known in industry with links across the world. It gives students a huge advantage over students studying at other universities because employers know that if you’ve studied at the EHS, you already have lots of work experience under your belt.’
Nidal says the lectures are ‘entertaining and engaging’ and within his first month he’s had some ‘real-world’ success as his suggestion to have a running schedule in the hotel’s brasserie has been implemented.
But for Nidal the most important thing he’s learned at the EHS so far, is the breadth of opportunity in the hospitality industry.
‘The range of jobs is so vast. When people say ‘events’, the majority will think straight away of weddings or conference, but there is a bigger picture and so many job opportunities. From studying this course at the Edge Hotel School, we can travel all around the world.’