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Rockliffe Hall’s Head Housekeeper Selected For Top Industry Diploma

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The Head Housekeeper at Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth, near Darlington, has won a coveted place on the Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders Diploma (MIALD).

Kirsty Whitwell, who lives in Darlington and is originally from Newcastle, is one of just 18 junior managers, senior supervisors and heads of department working in the hotel industry across the country to be selected to study for the internationally recognised Level 3 Award from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Kirsty, 30, and the rest of the scholars will learn through a combination of group workshops, private study, project work, best practice visits and from specialist guest speakers. The course will consist of two-day sessions running throughout the next 12 months. The Master Innholders has partnered with Merlin Consultancy to deliver the programme, which will focus on business management, business marketing and sales, human resource management, consumer management, finance and business planning, legislative management, professional development, and leadership.

Kirsty, who joined Rockliffe Hall as Head Housekeeper in July 2013, says: “I’m so pleased to have been selected – it was an honour to even be asked by my employers to apply so to win a place is fantastic! I’m passionate about hospitality and hope the skills I gain on this diploma will strengthen my knowledge and expertise.”

Kirsty won the place on the 2016 intake following a rigorous interview day at Innholders Hall in London by four judges: Hilary Cooke, director of the Merlin Consultancy and MIALD course leader; Petra Clayton, managing director of Custard Communications; David Connell, general manager at South Lodge and Miles Pooley, chief executive of RAF Club.

Hilary Cooke says: “The high quality of applications we received meant we had a difficult task arriving at our final decision and I would like to thank everyone who put forward an application for this year’s programme.

“It’s invigorating to see so many people who are passionate about the industry we work in and the Aspiring Leaders Diploma will help them to achieve great things as an individual and as part of a team.”

Contact Rockliffe Hall on 01325 729999 or visit

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