Paul Kelly (Failte Ireland), Lorraine Danaher & Daragh Feighery (Center Parcs Longford Forest) and Fania Stoney (Great Place to Work)
Center Parcs Longford Forest has won the inaugural Great Place to Work Spotlight Series award for tourism and hospitality businesses.
The award was launched by Fáilte Ireland and Great Place to Work last year to highlight businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector that are delivering innovative programmes to develop and invest in their staff.
The Longford holiday destination, which has brought 1,000 jobs to the local area since it was established in 2019, stood out for ‘its authentic commitment to developing employees at all levels and giving them a platform to really get to know every part of the business’ according to Paul Hayden, Head of Tourism Careers at Fáilte Ireland.
The Spotlight Series partnership with Great Place to work is just one part of Fáilte Ireland’s strategy to promote careers in tourism, with growth of up to 50,000 more jobs expected over the next 5 years. The winner was announced at a ceremony in Dublin on Wednesday night last having been selected by a panel of independent judges.
“Often tourism is recognised for the major economic contribution that it makes to the economy but not always for the exciting careers it can foster,” said Paul Hayden, Head of Tourism Careers at Fáilte Ireland.
He added, “Intrinsic to the success of tourism is the talent and innovation of its workforce, many of whom are on the frontline, welcoming visitors from around the world every day. There are a huge number of career options in tourism and our Spotlight Series award with Great Place to Work provides an opportunity for the industry to showcase how tourism and hospitality can offer careers that are rewarding and exciting, with significant progression opportunities.”
As part of its ‘We are Always Growing’ development programme, Center Parcs brought 348 mentors from its UK businesses to help train, support and empower new employees in Longford.
Since then, it has established a number of different training programmes to suit the needs of employees at all levels, including a formal training programme for aspiring managers. Every new employee is also given the opportunity to work and learn across all divisions of the business, in over 130 roles including administration, housekeeping, food and leisure.
On winning the first Spotlight Series Award, Daragh Feighery, General Manager of Center Parcs Longford Forest said:
“A significant part of the success of Center Parcs can be attributed to our people. The sense of pride and commitment that our colleagues have in delivering a premium Centerparcs experience to the thousands of guests that visit us throughout the year is recognised and commented on through a number of channels by our guests."
Mr Feighery continued, "We truly value our employees and recognise them as our biggest asset and as such we invest heavily in them to maintain and grow their enthusiasm and commitment to Center Parcs. This is achieved through a number of ways including unique recognition platforms, structured training and development tools, regular formal and informal engagement via regular reviews. These are aimed towards supporting personal development, retention, motivation, career advancement and overall role satisfaction.
"This has been very successful, as evidenced by the results of our first employee survey taken less than 6 months after opening of our resort, in which our colleagues scored working with Center Parcs Longford Forest at an 82% Engagement Score.
"These fantastic results have been achieved through a culture that genuinely values and recognises that its biggest asset is people, and continues to ensure that culture is maintained and protected.
"Receiving a Great Place To Work Award so close to opening is truly a great accolade for us as an organisation and is an award that the we are very proud to receive.”
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