Greater Exmoor – Fantastic Career Opportunities in our Local Visitor Economy

Greater Exmoor – Fantastic Career Opportunities in our Local Visitor Economy

Across the greater Exmoor area, it is estimated that there are more than 400 vacancies across the hospitality sector. Businesses have already had to cut back on their services as they have been unable to find staff to join their teams and fulfil many roles from chefs, front of house, housekeeping and hotel management roles. Restrictions on foreign travel have meant that many hospitality and tourism businesses had been hoping to capitalise on the domestic travel market, but staff shortages are undermining that. Here, we look at the fantastic story of how John Whybrow, who started out as a Redcoat, climbed the ladder to become Resort General Manager and the positives, and job satisfaction, a career in hospitality can bring.

From Redcoat to Resort GM: John Whybrow’s Butlin’s Story

In 1994 John Whybrow joined the Butlin’s team as a Redcoat for a single summer season. 27 years later he’s still there but now he’s managing the resort. This is John’s story…

I started as a Redcoat in the early nineties – back then Butlin’s looked a very different place to the Butlin’s you see today. The Skyline Pavilion, which has become so synonymous to Butlin’s, was still a few years away however our desire to provide an altogether more entertaining and fun break has never changed.

Like many of our team members, I only ever planned to work one season. It’s funny how many of our team members will tell the same story.  How one season turned into five, ten, fifteen plus years. I think it’s testament to how we do things at Butlin’s. There is something incredibly unique about Butlin’s, something that makes it such as special place, something that makes you fall in love with the business, the culture, the people and making memories that will last a lifetime.

Butlin’s is like a small town. At any one time we could have up to 5,000 guests and a team of 1,500 team members on resort. If you know Butlin’s, you’ll be familiar with roles such as our Redcoats, lifeguards and bar team but behind the scenes we’ve got gardeners, an onsite maintenance team, clerical roles and many other important jobs that all play a part in making the guests stay as memorable as possible. We’re the market leader in family entertainment and one of the largest buyers of entertainment in the UK. This requires us to have a small army working behind the scenes to put on our shows and activities each day, with roles that cover everything from set design and lighting rig operators to costume and make-up. It’s this mix of roles and opportunities which helps us attract such a diverse team and helps make us Butlin’s a fun and interesting place to work.

During my first year at Butlin’s, I could tell that there were great opportunities to develop a career. Through great training and development programmes my journey took me from Redcoat to Team Leader, Assistant Manager to Entertainments and Leisure Manager to finally Resort General Manager which is what I am today. Many of our current leaders have had a very similar journey, having started as team member and progressed to become a leader within the business. Of course, that’s not for everyone and we’ve got a great team who join us just for the season including students on summer breaks and team members who are attracted by the opportunity to live and work on resort and all the benefits that brings.

I have so many great memories from my time at Butlin’s and I have met many great people over the years but my proudest moment is how the Minehead team have dealt with the pandemic. Like many in hospitality we have been forced to close and re-open the resort three times – always in a safe and secure way and this has taken its toll on our team, our guests but also our local community. As one of the town’s largest employers, I recognise the important role Butlin’s plays in the local area and during this time I have been working with local partners in the community to make sure we get Minehead Town and the local area fully re-open so we can welcome visitors back. This is especially important to me being a local resident and passionate about the success of the town. My hope is that we can begin to look forward to welcoming many visitors back to this wonderful part of the country.

So, as I reflect on 27 proud years at Butlin’s I can definitely say that my decision to apply as a Redcoat back in 1994 was one of the best I ever made. We have a motto for our team “give our guests a great time and we’ll give you the opportunity of a lifetime”, well after almost three decades at Butlin’s, I can say this is definitely true.

Butlin’s Minehead is currently hiring and has both permanent and seasonal positions available across the resort, with flexible hours and team accommodation on offer. Butlin’s is proud to be part of the Government’s Kickstart Scheme and has recently reviewed its pay rates to ensure all team members, regardless of age receive the National Living Wage of £8.91ph as a minimum. Butlin’s is part of Bourne Leisure Ltd which also owns Warner Leisure Hotels and Haven Holidays and was placed fifth in the Sunday Times Best Big Companies to work for in 2019. For more information about the roles available visit www.butlinscareers.co.uk.

There are some amazing job and career opportunities available across the Greater Exmoor area, for more information visit www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/current-vacancies

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