Overseeing such a wide range of attractions, Ingilby sought two interns capable of handling a challenging task while remaining open and receptive to new learning experiences.
Over the course of 10 weeks, senior Bridget Clark and junior Mary Wojtkowski worked in a range of capacities, from housekeeping to marketing for the entire estate. According to Ingilby, this is the goal in training interns.
“We aim to give our interns invaluable hands-on experience in every department of Ripley Castle and the Boar’s Head Hotel, so that by the end of their stay they will have worked as receptionists, bar staff, waiters — in three different outlets covering fine dining, bistro and tearooms — event organizers, wedding planners, housekeepers and marketing personnel.”
The interns felt that the well-rounded program that Ingilby constructed helped them receive the best tourism and hospitality experience possible.
“Each department is vital to the success of Ripley Castle as a whole. By gaining hands-on experience in each of the departments, it made it easy to see how each piece fits into the whole estate to make it successful,” said Wojtkowski.
Working at the castle also opened the students up to a new culture. According to Ingilby, this is one of the most vital benefits of the internship. “Our interns are immersed in another place and another culture for at least three months: This gives them a much broader outlook on life.”
Clark said that paying attention to cultural differences gave her an experience that not many other internships could offer. “One of the things I noticed culturally is the emphasis on the dining experience,” she said. “In England, restaurants are not concerned with turning over tables; they are concerned with the experience each guest receives. Guests relax in a lounge while they order their food. Then they are escorted to their table that is set to perfection, and every small detail is taken into account. It was interesting to notice these nuances, and I know this will really help me in the hospitality industry.”
Wojtkowski and Clark advise other students to explore similar opportunities.
“Students should take any opportunity to intern abroad,” Wojtkowski advised. “[They should] make as many connections with people as they can, and just soak up the culture and make the best of the learning experience.”
— Written by Margaret Mastrogiacomo
For the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management