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Blue Mountains: Life-changing journey

(L-R) Urban Caves owner Guy Brown with Nova client Wayne Marmion

By Ellen Hill for Urban Caves       Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

For the past five months, Wayne Marmion and Guy Brown have traversed a shared path of self-discovery, reflection and challenge.

Their journey has earned Mr Brown and his business, Urban Caves, a place among the finalists in the 2018 Blue Mountains Business Awards in the Employee Inclusion Award category.

Mr Brown employed Mr Marmion under a Nova Employment and Training subsidy program he learned about after meeting a Nova representative at a Blue Mountains Regional Business Chamber event.

It has been a life-changing experience for both of them.

Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, former navy marine technical hull specialist, Mr Marmion struggled to leave his Wentworth Falls home before becoming a Nova client and being placed in a job at the Katoomba-based Urban Caves.

These days, he works alongside Mr Brown installing pre-fabricated cabins (urban caves), micro shelters and glampervans between Glenbrook and Lithgow.

“I like to give people a go,’’ Mr Brown said.

“It’s been a really good experience for me because I had a lot of prejudices about hiring people who were older, but Wayne is a bloody good asset to the business.’’

As well as having a wealth of experience and maturity, Mr Marmion was well presented, friendly, reliable and confident making suggestions.

“I’m definitely happy and proud to have Wayne onsite with me and I’d recommend people be open-minded and give people a go.’’

As well as investing again in his tool kit, Mr Marmion has regained his passion for building, creating, drawing, playing guitar and writing stories, pastimes he was emotionally unable to engage in for years.

“I’m reconnecting with who I was even before I was in the navy. I’m using my hands again,’’ the father-of-five said.

“Guy says he doesn’t want to take credit for this, but he should. There’s been a lot of benefits for me working for him that I don’t know how to quantify.’’

  • Urban Caves is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

    (L-R) Wayne Marmion and Guy Brown work on another Urban Caves cabin

Blue Mountains: Escarpment Group gives your career the edge

Cocktails in Cats Alley 02

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

Young hospitality workers can learn how to take their careers to new heights when Escarpment Group takes part in the TAA Hotel Career Expo in Sydney on May 16.

Those who attend will have the chance to meet influential hotel industry professionals such as Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger, who can explain the many opportunities the luxury collection of hotels has to offer across its four Blue Mountains properties (Lilianfels Resort & Spa along with Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant, Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges and the Hydro Majestic Hotel).

Escarpment Group career (1)“The expo will be a great opportunity to go behind the scenes at hotels such as ours and kick-start a new career in this fast-paced industry where you have the chance to travel around the world, meet lots of people from around the world and work in a rewarding career.’’

The free (although registration is essential) expo would be of interest to high school and university students, existing hotel staff and those looking for a career change.

Hotels are more than just check-in and housekeeping,’’ Mr Bruegger said.Like most hotels, Escarpment Group has lots of departments which ensure the smooth running of our properties, and they are all crucial in making sure our guests have a positive and memorable stay.’’

The hotel industry also stretches beyond major city borders into regional and even remote areas, offering staff further dimensions to their career and experience and authentic and creative hospitality experience.

Majestic Long Lunch 03For example, Escarpment Group had doubled its investment and staff numbers in the Blue Mountains in the past two years.

Staff of all experience levels worked with an international team of professionals and had the opportunity to work at properties across the group.

“While of course theory education is very important and we encourage it, we give our employees, especially the younger ones, practical training alongside those who have worked in the industry for a long time because we believe that learning from example is an experience that money cannot buy,’’ Mr Bruegger said.

Surrounded by the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, staff can also access a lifestyle like no other, spending leisure time exploring Australia’s most accessible wilderness and quaint villages which make up the community.

“It is a constant challenge for regional hotels like ours to attract dedicated skilled workers that are prepared to live in the area. Giving jobs to a local workforce is the ultimate goal,’’ Mr Bruegger said.

Escarpment Group career (6)Workers in the hotel industry on average stay in jobs for just 12 months or less, particularly those aged up to 21.

Escarpment Group, which has approximately 230 employees across its four Blue Mountains properties, hoped to combat the problems associated with a transient workforce with a new scholarship-style program and a first for Australia.

While the details of the new program would be announced shortly, Mr Bruegger said the aim was to foster more training pathways to create a stable, skilled workforce, which would lead to sustainable quality of product and service not just at Escarpment Group hotels but eventually throughout the region.

“This program will be a direct investment in the front and back of house workforce future of Escarpment Group hotels and beyond.’’

The free 2016 Hotel Career Expo will be held at the InterContinental, 117 Macquarie St, Sydney, from 10am to 6pm on May 16.

The expo will include inspiring seminars, exhibits from 20 hotel brands including Escarpment Group, career-focused interactive booths, the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and the chance to win fantastic prizes.

Go to www.hotelcareerexpo.com.au to register.

* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill MediaEscarpment Group career (2)