A HOTEL manager who reached the top role just six years after working as a waiter is on a mission to recruit others into hospitality.

At just 32, Adam Wardale has quickly risen through the ranks to lead York's Middletons Hotel.

He has now taken the reigns as chairman of Hospitality Association York (HAY) just weeks after being named an 'unsung hero' finalist in the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

Adam said it was an honour to have been voted in as chair of York's hospitality body which has more than 20 members, ranging from small independents to The Grand, York's only five-star hotel.

York Press:

Adam Wardale, third from right, has taken over as chair of HAY

With more than 2,000 guest bedrooms between them and just over 1,500 employees, HAY is represented on different bodies in York, such as the tourism advisory board, Chamber of Commerce, Indie York, and the York BID.

Adam takes over from Martin Bradnam, who has stepped down, with Sarah Czarnecki, of Grays Court hotel, continuing as vice chair of the not-for-profit organisation.

He is confident that HAY can 'do a lot going forward' following two very difficult years of Covid-related closures and restrictions.

"I think York has done extremely well as a city in dealing with that. Last summer we had a bumper summer. I very much think we will have that again. I think the staycation market will still be here, and the past two years have shown there are some really exciting places to visit in the UK - and York is one of them."

But there are still challenges ahead, Adam added.

While the staffing crisis has improved, hoteliers are now struggling with the increase in food costs and utilities, especially small independents businesses.

"There are damaging figures. The VAT reduction needs to be looked at."

Adam says hospitality is not represented well within government, which is damaging for the sector.

"There was talk of a minister for hospitality. That has not happened," he said.

"We need to work on having a better representation and champion hospitality as a career."

At HAY's latest meeting, members highlighted issues it wants to focus on, such as how to enhance people's perspective of hospitality as a career option, including working with schools, colleges and the universities to promote the diverse range of opportunities.

Adam, who has been general manager at Daniel Thwaites-owned Middletons Hotel for almost four years, believes his own career path highlights the potential for progress.

"I only started at Daniel Thwaites 10 years ago as a waiter at a Leeds hotel. I went through various roles in different departments. I then took on a group role looking after food and drink, and went from a waiter to a general manager role in six years.

"I think there's amazing career progression in hospitality and I am proof that you can go through a career fairly quickly. I think six years from team member to general manage is an achievement. I am proud of it."

VisitEngland's unsung hero category, a new award for 2022, recognises an individual who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the tourism industry.

Adam was put forward for consideration after winning the unsung hero award at the Visit York Tourism Awards in March.

The winner will be announced on June 8.