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  • Writer's pictureAustin Christensen Willis

Pathways to Professionalism: Navigating School Work Placement



When my school approached me about arranging my work experience, I knew exactly where I wanted to be: alongside David at INLOCO Events. The prospect of delving into the world of event management with David piqued my interest, aligning perfectly with my aspirations in the hospitality industry. With each passing day of this placement, my enthusiasm for this career path has only grown stronger.


INLOCO, derived from the Latin word meaning "in the proper place," aptly encapsulates the ethos of the business. From the moment I stepped through the door, the team at INLOCO embraced me wholeheartedly, alleviating any nerves and making me feel like part of the family.


On my first day of work experience, I journeyed down to London with David to scout venues. We arrived at the Novotel London West, where I was allocated an executive room on the 9th floor. It was a bright, airy space with a complimentary bento box filled with savoury and sweet treats, along with complimentary refreshments. The view from my room across West London was stunning.


An hour and a half later, I met Emily Cross, the Meeting and Events Sales manager, who gave us a tour of the venue and its meeting spaces, boasting a refreshments and food area outside each room. The Novotel London West clinched two awards in 2022: one for being the most versatile venue (with over 500 theatre-style seating) and the other for being the most versatile London venue (for receptions with 900+ attendees). Emily treated us to dinner at the hotel's bar, 'Mirrors'. The next morning, during breakfast, the kitchen staff surprised me with a birthday cake and a rendition of 'happy birthday', showcasing the exceptional customer service at Novotel London West. Overall, our stay was delightful, and we were impressed by the venue's customisability.



On my second day, I visited Hilton Bankside to shadow Lisbeth Gernow, the hotel's commercial director. Upon arrival, David and I were ushered into the executive lounge, stocked with complimentary snacks and beverages. After a brief wait, I was introduced to Lisbeth, who took me to the morning meeting with the hotel's management team. I participated in discussions about customer complaints, upcoming events, menu changes, and more.


Following the meeting, I toured the hotel's various rooms, with the Vegan suite standing out as a unique offering tailored for vegan business travellers, garnering significant publicity from vegan communities. It's the world's first all-vegan hotel room, even down to the Pĩnatex cushions, made from pineapple as a leather alternative. We explored the ballroom venue and other facilities across multiple floors.


One standout feature was a conference room with multi-sensorial elements, like a mirror doubling as a whiteboard. Lisbeth explained the complex process of pricing rooms, which was eye-opening. Lunch with Lisbeth and the staff in the staff cafeteria was delightful. After lunch, I had the privilege of visiting the rooftop construction site, exclusive to Hilton personnel. Back in Lisbeth's office, we discussed various roles in the hospitality industry. As I departed, she gifted me a bag filled with goodies, including a coffee cup, honey from their own bee hives in the countryside. It was a truly wonderful to experience a day in the life of the inner workings of a 4star hotel in London.




On Tuesday David and I went to the NAEC Stoneleigh park in Warwickshire to talk with his clients organising an event called Click Live. We met with Charlie, the client, to talk about the event who was going to update us on the progress of the event. This was an insight to how Inloco Events Ltd, client, 3rd suppliers and venue all work together to make bring events to life. After we had finished talking about the event, me, David, Charlie and Gary had a drink and a quick bite at the local café on-sight. This was an opportunity for Charlie to talk about the event candidly and to gather advice from David utilising his skill set and knowledge of the events industry. On returning to the office I spent time with Mark Blyth who touched on their booking system for communicating enquiries to venues. This was eye opening as it showed me the journey of a booking from an emailed brief, to collecting venue offers, to offering venues to client and then confirming the space and finally claiming commissions.




Wednesday brought a flurry of activity as we welcomed two venue collections to our office, eager to update us on their latest acquisitions and brand developments. Following the fruitful meetings, we embarked on a journey to explore venues first hand, beginning with a visit to a studio in Birmingham.


Accompanied by Julian Kettleborough, the business development manager, we embarked on a comprehensive tour of the studio, immersing ourselves in its diverse meeting spaces and expansive hall venue. The space exuded flexibility and creativity, punctuated by quirky details like hidden quotes beneath phones. As we bid farewell, I was delighted to receive a goodie bag brimming with delectable sweet snacks, a thoughtful gesture to end our visit on a sweet note.


Our next destination was the Park Regis hotel, where we were warmly greeted by Jessica Brabant regional sales manager, a delightful and enthusiastic host. Jessica led us on a tour of the hotel's meeting and venue rooms, including the stunning sky loft offering panoramic views of Birmingham's suburbs and city centre. As we gathered around the dinner table, each of us found a personalised bag filled with thoughtful gifts, a testament to Jessica's attention to detail.


The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the sumptuous three-course Indian meal, served with flair and generosity. From starters presented on platters to main courses served in authentic Indian tableware, every aspect of the dining experience reflected the hotel's commitment to excellence. In Jessica, we not only found a stellar sales manager but also a genuinely warm and hospitable individual, making our visit truly memorable.




To David, Mark, and the entire team at INLOCO, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for this enriching experience. You've not only provided me with valuable insights and skills but also instilled in me a deeper appreciation for the world of events and hospitality. Thank you for welcoming me into your fold and shaping my path towards a fulfilling career.


Throughout the week, I've relished every task and opportunity that has come my way. Whether it's assisting with event planning, learning the intricacies of hospitality management, or simply soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of the office, each moment has been invaluable.


As I reflect on this experience, I can't help but see it as a stepping stone towards my future in the hospitality industry. The guidance and support I've received at INLOCO have reaffirmed my passion for this field, and I'm excited to see where this journey takes me.




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