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Jon Morcom is Director of the Duke of Cornwall Hotel, an original independent hotel in the centre of Plymouth that has been open for over 150 years. The Hotel was originally built as a railway hotel in 1863 and prides itself on its individuality of character. It was built as Plymouth’s first luxury hotel and still provides first class accommodation and service today.
Jon has been Director at the Hotel since 2001 having come full circle from working there as a weekend porter in his mid-teens. whilst he was studying for a BTEC in Hospitality at City College Plymouth.
Jon thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on training at the College. “The training kitchens were very appealing to me,” he said. “I really enjoyed the practical experience of working in the restaurant and kitchens. I liked the fact that the College were keen for the students to go out into local businesses. It made me realise early on that this would give me the experience I needed to start my career.
“At College, you have a more independent way of learning, in a more relaxed way, compared to school. You are treated as an adult. You always knew that you had to achieve the results to get your qualifications and further your career.”
Whilst he was at the College, the opportunity arose for Jon to become a trainee manager at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel. He said: “When I became Trainee Manager, it was a more traditional way of learning. The scheme gave me the opportunity to work in every department, enabling me to get to know every area. This gave me an excellent grounding in the business.”
Jon completed the traineeship in 1991, returning to City College to do his professional qualifications, and was subsequently promoted to Assistant Manager. Jon said: “I also had the opportunity to work for a year in sales and marketing and conference management before I was promoted to Senior Assistant Manager. The Director of the Hotel at the time bought another hotel in Somerset and asked me to go and run it for him, which I did for a year.”
Jon returned to Plymouth in 1997 as Food and Beverage Manager at Plymouth Pavilions, where he stayed for five years. He then went on to the Royal Western Yacht club, working in house management for six months.
But the Duke of Cornwall was calling him home and Jon rejoined the team as Deputy Manager. He was later offered the opportunity to purchase the hotel, along with three other partners. It was an opportunity which Jon jumped at, becoming joint owner and one of the Hotel’s two Directors in 2001.
“For me, I’m proud that I was a student at the College. I’m proud that I can talk about that and I’m proud at where I’ve arrived. To give something back to that College is essential for me and I am happy to continue to do this.”