Hospitality student presented with ‘Future Leader’ award from Apex Hotels founder

By Press Office

A hospitality student from Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has been presented with a prestigious award from contemporary hotel group, Apex Hotels.

Mature student, Mary Kelly, came to QMU in third year on the BA (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management as a Direct Entrant student after completing a HND at City of Glasgow College. She began her HND after retiring from the police force having served for 30 years as a firearms officer.

Mary was presented with the Dr Norman Springford Future Leader Award on Wednesday 6 November after delivering an impressive presentation to Apex’s senior management team on the need for the hospitality industry to have a multi-skilled workforce. Mary will receive the award as a £3k bursary to support her during her final year of study.

Earlier in the year, Mary also received a £1,000 Apex Hotels Scholarship and completed an 11-week internship working in numerous departments such as housekeeping, food and beverage, reception and head office to gain experience in sales, events, and marketing.  Having made a very positive impression on hotel management while on her internship, Mary was subsequently offered a part-time role at Apex City of Glasgow Hotel.

Commenting on her award success, Mary said: “Receiving the Norman Springford Future Leader Award will show prospective employers the passion and commitment I have for my second career in the hospitality industry.

“I hope to move onto a role in management as soon as I complete my degree.”

Taking great delight in presenting with her award, Dr Norman Springford, the founder and former executive chairman of Apex Hotels and honorary graduate of QMU, said: “It’s a real pleasure to present this award to Mary today. We were so impressed with her presentation, and her passion for the hospitality industry is clear to see.

“We’re delighted to continue supporting students at Queen Margaret University to enhance the student experience and boost employability prospects after graduation.”


Notes to Editor

1. The Apex Hotels Scholarships and The Dr Norman Springford Future Leader Award,  which is named after the hotel group’s founder, aims to create a new generation of hospitality leaders who can transform Scotland’s hospitality industry so that it is a key player on the world stage. The Scholarships give students the opportunity to get paid work experience with Apex Hotels, including hands on experience across all areas of the business. They also receive a bursary to help fund their studies. At the end of the internships, students are encouraged to apply for the Dr Norman Springford Future Leader Award. This is a £3,000 cash award which can be used as a bursary or help fund postgraduate studies at QMU. 

2. To date, QMU has received over £30,000 from Apex Hotels for student support enhancing the student experience and employability prospects.

3. Find out more about Apex Hotels on their website.

4. For media enquiries, please contact Karen Keith, Media Relations and Content Officer, at or phone 0131 474 0000.

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