Leighton Buzzard man among pioneers of management training programme
Aidan Hall, 23, joined colleagues on the special ‘graduation day’ at the family-run Gulliver’s, which has three parks across the country.
Aidan was among those selected last summer to train in management and he will now work as retail and guest services manager at Gulliver’s Land in Milton Keynes.
The former pupil of St George’s School, Harpenden, said: “I’ve enjoyed the chance to see every part of the business and operations at all three parks, and I’ve learnt that the quick turnarounds between each opening can be challenging. Confidence used to be an issue for me, but my confidence has really grown on this programme and I’m quite happy to be taken out of my comfort zone. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into my new role at Milton Keynes and seeing the results.”
Gulliver’s, which operates parks at Matlock Bath, Warrington and Milton Keynes, is developing ambitious plans for a fourth in the Rother Valley.
Gulliver’s director of guest services Dean Kimberley said: “A career helping to run our theme parks is really unlike any other, so we realised the only way to prepare people for it was with our own management training programme.
“A lot of planning went into creating the programme, which is very challenging and hands-on. It gives trainees a taste of every aspect the business, from being on the frontline entertaining or guests to all the jobs that go on behind the scenes every day.”
Aidan was among just five chosen from more than 700 applicants in a several-stage recruitment process which included a ‘Dragons Den’-style pitch to a Gulliver’s panel. The course combined classroom study, work-based projects and practical on-the-job training.
During the training programme, they have completed placements at each of the three theme parks, experiencing the busiest summer days and the eerily quiet times when the attractions are closed to the public but work still goes on. The programme was designed to equip them with leadership skills, practical experience, technical understanding and product knowledge.
Dean added: “All five have done extremely well and everyone at Gulliver’s is very proud of our first batch of ‘Gully’s Graduates’. Running the course has been a learning curve for us too and these five pioneers have helped us refine and develop it for future intakes of trainee managers.
“We hope they will go on to have long and enjoyable careers as part of the Gulliver’s family and in time they could be the ones training new recruits on the programme they helped establish.”