Best of Both Worlds.jpg

Through the Trainee Manager Development Programme, STEPHEN DOYLE (24) combines work at Ballygarry House Hotel with study at the Institute of Technology, Tralee – an ideal scenario for someone who doesn’t want to ‘sit down all day’.

‘When I finished the Leaving Cert, a career in the hospitality and tourism industry never crossed my mind. In fact, I don’t recall it being suggested as a career choice in secondary school. This is baffling as it is such a rewarding path.

I went straight to UCC when I finished school but realised I had no real passion for the course I was studying. It wasn’t until I turned 22 that I decided to give the hotel industry a shot. A nine-to-five office job was never for me – it felt methodical and robotic. I was very interested in people and I always enjoyed dealing with different characters and cultures.

Don’t jump head first into a course without looking into it. It can be a long four years studying something you have no real passion for.
— Stephen's top tip

The TMDP at IT Tralee suited. Sitting down all day was never something I was good at, so to have a hotel management course minimalised down to two, four-week semesters a year was ideal.

Get Hands-On Experience 

I also feel that this is an industry where hands-on work is where you’ll get most of your education. The TMDP teaches you the theoretical side of the industry and lets the hotel impart the practical.

The basis of the course is to rotate students between every department in a hotel so you gain an understanding of how each one operates. On my very first day in Ballygarry House, I was put to work in accommodation. The owner of the hotel said to me “How can you run a hotel if you don’t know how to make a bed properly?”



The TMDP is a highly intensive course, spanning four weeks, 9am until 5pm most days. As a result, if you were to miss one day you would be lost the next. I feel it sets it in stone for students – you have four weeks to get-in, get-out and do your best.

Your average day in college is fairly tame and can be a nice break from work. The course provides you with the opportunity to go on trips with other classes involved in the sector, which is fun as well as educational. A day in Ballygarry House, on the other hand, is always busy. No two days are the same and that’s what I love about it.

My least favourite part about the course is definitely the online classes. At times, the last thing you want to do after a week’s work is log on to an online tutorial. That aside, the course is run really well and it will provide the stepping-stones to help me progress.

Networking Know-How 

The best part about the course is the interaction I have with fellow trainee managers. I was lucky in that we all get along very well with each other, which will be invaluable in years to come. The course has provided us with a network that spans Ireland. All these students come from very different hotels and it is fascinating to learn about the different means and methods used in their respective hotels – and applying these nuggets to my own role!’

This article first appeared in the 2017 issue of Get a Life in Tourism. 

We are on Instagram! Check us out below!