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Maddy Davidson at 1051 GWR

For someone so young, Maddy Davidson has such a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry. At just 22, she has progressed through various roles in a competitive industry, whilst still finding time to give back and help the next generation to gain skills and expertise in hospitality. 

On finishing school at 18, Maddy knew she didn't want to explore the University route to work. With limited practical experience under her belt, she was keen for support on finding the best avenue to kick-start her career. The Diageo Learning for Life programme delivered by The Springboard Charity proved to be that very support network. 

Signing up to the Hospitality and Bartending programme, Maddy completed the six week training course consisting of four weeks of training and two weeks placement. The course not only put her through the practical training to work effectively behind the bar but she also got her personal licence, learned about wine cellaring and beer quality, and completed high level customer care training setting her up to take that first step into the world of work.

On completion of the programme, Maddy secured a role with the G1 Group where she worked as a supervisor for functions and events. She then moved up to assistant manager at the Record Factory before landing her current role as bar manager at the busy 1051 GWR bar in Glasgow. The city’s ever-changing, vibrant bar culture has welcomed Maddy with open arms, offering her plenty of opportunities to gain experience and develop her skills.

I love that every day is different – it keeps me on my toes. I never quite know what is going to be round the corner but my training has helped me to be ready for anything. The ability to progress has been a real motivation for me. Each job I have done I have gotten one step further. I am always moving forward, always looking to learn and improve.

Maddy’s main responsibilities consist of stock control, the design of menus, and staff training while making sure the staff are happy and that everything is running smoothly. She likes to keep on the frontline and help out on the floor getting stuck in when needed. Something she believes is essential for getting ahead in the industry.

Maddy Davidson inspects glass with pink cocktails in foreground
Maddy Davidson inspects glass with pink cocktails in foreground

Image credit Mike Wilkinson, all rights reserved

In order to get something out of it you have to be willing to put something in. You need to work hard to get ahead but it can be a really rewarding and enjoyable career. The training I received has definitely helped as it gave me that foot in the door as well as the confidence to say I can do this and I can do it well.

And getting ahead is something on Maddy’s mind. She has worked at a number of high profile events for Diageo including the Hunter Foundation Fundraising Event where Barack Obama spoke as well as events at City Chambers Glasgow and the Scottish Parliament on a number of occasions. She was shortlisted for the Hospitality Industry Trust Scholarship where she was given a one week work placement with cocktail and restaurant group, Drake and Morgan in London, securing cocktail training from the very best.

Maddy really sees the benefit of the training she did and how it has helped her progress in her career. She has taken on an ambassadorial role for Springboard presenting to new trainees about her experience as well as inspiring them about what the future can hold. She has also worked with Springboard at Dumfries Prison, where she conducted training aimed at helping prisoners move from prison life into work, with a focus on hospitality.

These experiences have given me great insight. I really enjoy training people and preparing them for work in the industry. It is really satisfying to make people feel confident in what they are doing. This can sometimes be the downfall of hospitality. People think that it doesn’t take much to work in it but it really does – I want to show people that working in hospitality is a professional career. It takes a lot of skill and expertise.

With barely a moment to stand still, Maddy is now studying for an HND in Hospitality Management while still working full time. Her aim is to then go on to complete her degree in the next three years with the hope of becoming a manager for a larger chain establishment.

Her long term plan is to work as a lecturer to not only pass on the knowledge and skills she has learned but also to show people the alternative routes that are available to those working in Scotland’s vibrant and varied hospitality sector. Her ambition is to inspire the next generation of hospitality workers and continue to be an ambassador for the industry to educate young people that hospitality can be a professional career of choice.

Hear from other young tourism ambassadors featured as part of the Future Focus series.