A student from Larkhall in South Lanarkshire is a step closer to pursuing the career of her dreams after being awarded an £8,000 university grant by The Crerar Hotels Trust.
Megan Gillis (Falconer), 18, has become the first person in her family to secure a place at university and begin her journey to becoming a professional wedding planner, thanks to the Crerar Hotels Hospitality Bursary.
Megan, who attended Larkhall Academy, is now studying BA (Hons) International Hospitality & Tourism Management (IHTM) at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, where she is already getting the personal development, practical experience and skills needed to help achieve her career aspirations.
Megan did not think she could afford to go to university until she heard about the grant, which is helping fund her university studies at QMU over the next four years. She grew up in a single-parent family with a low household income, so she has first-hand experience of how restricted finances can be a struggle and limit personal development opportunities.
Despite undergraduate fees for Scottish students being covered by the Scottish Government, coming to university can be expensive, particularly if it involves moving away from home. Even when students have just enough money to live on, a lack of money can prevent them from participating in educational projects or exchanges that will enrich their education and make them more attractive to employers.
Money worries can also force students to focus too much on paid work at the expense of their studies. As well as affecting their grades negatively, this can lead to them dropping out of university altogether, or turning down their place of admission.
The Crerar Hotels Hospitality Bursary is available for prospective students like Megan, who are accepted onto the IHTM degree at QMU and who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education, irrespective of their background or economic circumstances.
Uniquely, up to 50% of Crerar Hotels’ distributable profits are donated to charities operating within areas where Crerar Hotels are based. The Trust, which is chaired by Paddy Crerar, has awarded £7m of grants to over 400 organisations over the last 16 years. This forms part of a commitment to re-invest in the communities in which the group’s hotels and inns are based.
Paddy Crerar, Chairman of The Crerar Hotels Trust and Chief Executive of Crerar Hotels commented: “We’re delighted to have made this award to Queen Margaret University’s student, Megan Gillis, and look forward to hearing how this funding helps impact her university studies.
“Crerar Hotels is committed to giving back to the local community to help it grow and thrive, and provide opportunities that may otherwise seem out of reach. For every stay our customers have with us they are supporting others, who really need it. It is great for our folk in the hotels to see their hard work and efforts helping people in their own communities well as those from throughout the whole of Scotland and Yorkshire.”
Megan added: “I’m really grateful to The Crerar Hotels Trust and QMU for their support and for helpig me secure my place at university.”
“I now feel able to achieve my full academic and career potential without the financial constraints. My hope is that this course will allow me to not only progress towards my career, but also gain valuable insight into how the hospitality industry works.”
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