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“BU has been such an integral part of my life – they gave me the platform to achieve what I am now achieving.”

From BU to the Oscars of the hospitality world, Andrew Foulkes has been incredibly successful throughout this career.

It was BU’s reputation of hospitality courses that swung Andrew’s decision to study here, because at the time of his studies, BU was the number one university in the country for Hospitality Management.

“BU was number one for the course that I was looking to do and I had a fantastic four years here, in and around the Bournemouth area,” said Andrew, who graduated from BA (Hons) Hospitality Management in 2000.

His time at BU helped Andrew in more than one way, providing the foundation for his chosen career path. He said: “The belief and confidence to get out there, BU supported through placements, encouragement, and education.”

As part of his four year course, Andrew split his sandwich year between two placements.

“I actually did my placements really locally. The first was in Wareham, round the corner, working as a budding chef at the time. The second was in a pub, so I managed to do two little stints that gave me great and enjoyable practical experience,” Andrew recalls.

“There were always extra-curricular activities to get involved with at BU. Way back when, I was actually part of the squash team!

“I also did a lot of hospitality events at the Thomas Hardy restaurant – which I know doesn’t exist anymore – as well as lots of events up in London, so anything to do with hospitality I would try to be a part of.”

Since graduating, Andrew has run various 5 star properties and has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants and hotels in the UK.

“I got myself up to nearly head chef level of a 2 Michelin star restaurant, working with people like Raymond Blanc and Heston Blumenthal.”

Andrew then decided to move to front of house and is now working at general manager level, running a hotel in Bath.

“I’m currently the general manager at the Abbey Hotel in Bath; we’re the busiest hotel in the city. We run at 94% occupancy all year round, with a turn-over of just under 5 million so it’s a huge operation and I’m very proud of being part of it.”

In the summer of 2017, Andrew won the Catey Award for Manager of the Year. With more than 140 expert judges, the Catey Awards are the most prestigious of their kind in the hospitality industry and have been running for 34 years with international recognition.

He told BU: “I suppose in our industry, this sort of award is like an Oscar. I won Manager of the Year and I believe I was the youngest to ever win it.”

BU has stayed with Andrew throughout his career for various reasons or social links. Even 17 years after graduating, he still feels a strong connection with the university.

“Since my time at BU I have kept in contact with mentors and people that are still here, who I have contacted for advice and guidance throughout my career.

“I’ve always felt a huge connection so when I do get asked to come back, I feel it’s really important to show support and I love the growth of what’s happening at the university, it’s quite incredible.”

Andrew reflects on his time living in Bournemouth and how important his time at BU was for starting and steering his career.

“Bournemouth is a fantastic town in itself; I probably partied as hard as I worked! The facilities really are first-class at BU, so all-in-all, you’ve got a great area to live in and an even greater university.

“BU has been such an integral part of my life at the early stages and still now as I’m growing up into my older age. Bournemouth University gave me the platform to achieve what I am now achieving.”