Cherie Watts - Head Housekeeper

Single mum Cherie, 37, juggles homelife, her job as manager of a team of up to 12 staff and her studies. She is now working towards her third qualification.

Cherie started work as a housekeeper at the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Southampton six years ago and won promotion to head housekeeper two years ago – just four months after returning to work from maternity leave.

“I had just come back after 10 months’ maternity leave and the head housekeeper was leaving. I thought I’d really like to do the job so I went for it and got it,” she said.

Cherie took on the challenge with a young baby, now aged two. She also has a 20-year-old and youngsters aged 10, 11 and 14. She works 20 to 30 hours a week and more in summer.

An apprenticeship was the only option to enable Cherie to carve out a career. She said: “As a mum and very busy with the family, I couldn’t consider college or classroom learning. Therefore it was more suitable for me to do the apprenticeship and gain qualifications whilst at work with one-to-one training and mentoring with an assessor.”

Cherie gained her Housekeeping (Level 2) NVQ in 2009 and Apprenticeship Team Leading (Level 2) in 2012 and is now working on a Hospitality, Supervision and Leadership (Level 3) Apprenticeship, with HIT trainer-assessor Paula Burston helping her ease into the management role.

“Paula is absolutely brilliant,” says Cherie. “She’s at the end of a phone or email 24 hours a day. “She gives me a lot of advice and I feel so much more confident. I tend to be a team player but I’m learning to operate more on the management side.”

Paula is impressed by Cherie’s determination. She said: “Cherie decided to do the apprenticeships to give her the skills and knowledge to run and improve the housekeeping department. Previously, she had no experience of how to be a manager but is now full steam ahead towards a great career!”

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