Lecturer in the Spotlight: Mr Ouwehand
- 4 min read
Welcome to Lecturer in the Spotlight! In this series of articles, we interview some of our inspiring lecturers at Hotelschool The Hague. These faculty members make our study programme a great success, so we would like to share their career path with you. Today's interview is with Mr Ouwehand, F&B Instructor at Hotelschool The Hague. But why did we put Mr Ouwehand in the spotlight today? This academic year, he won the award for the Funniest Instructor at the Hoscars event of Hotelschool The Hague. This event was organised by the Student Council in Amsterdam to honour the most esteemed lecturers and instructors with different awards.
Mr Ouwehand's interest in the Hospitality Industry started at an early stage. He attended the Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality, which is now a member of the École hôtelière de Lausanne. This was during the time when international education in hotel management was still very scarce. Upon his graduation, he started working for Holiday Inn, where he spent the following 12 years working both in The Netherlands and abroad. Mr Ouwehand started his career as the youngest Restaurant Manager in Amsterdam, and later on he also held the position of F&B Manager. The next step in his career was Pathé Cinemas, more specifically the Pathé on the Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam, as an All-round Manager.
After one and a half years of working for Pathé, Mr Ouwehand decided that he needed a change. Having heard of Hotelschool The Hague, and having thoroughly enjoyed coaching students in the past, he decided to apply for a job as a F&B Instructor in 2002. This was the year Hotelschool The Hague opened the Amsterdam campus. Therefore, Mr Ouwehand has been working at the Amsterdam campus from the very beginning, where he has seen the number of students grow from 68 to the 1200 students today.
“This job is never the same. You can think you have seen it all as an instructor, but the students keep surprising you! It’s working with people that makes this job so great. And not just any people, these are ambitious people with a real future!” Mr Ouwehand stays in touch with the students when they embark on the journey towards their future. “Students come back or invite you to come visit their work, and you experience a warm welcome, wherever you go. You can find them anywhere, in any field, which makes me even more proud.” According to Mr Ouwehand, what differentiates graduates of Hotelschool The Hague from other schools, is their mentality. Their ambition, perseverance, consciousness and training, makes them a great asset to any organisation.
Graduating with a hospitality background is a very good asset in general, Mr Ouwehand says. “Companies are looking for client centred service. Hotello’s offer more than just one quality. It’s the combination of skills that makes them so valuable for every field.”
Another very important part of being an instructor is keeping the connection with the industry. This is even more important when the course is practically based, as it gives the students real-life experience. To Mr Ouwehand, this means keeping up to date with trends and developments, and industry literature. While being an instructor, as part of the ‘duurzaamheidsstage’ of Hotelschool The Hague, he worked for the skating short track world championship as the middle man between the client and the operators, giving feedback, managing catering and supervising products. He enjoyed this immensely and learned a lot from it. The feeling was mutual, as he was invited to join for the Volvo Oceans Race finale in The Hague in 2018.
Mr Ouwehand's advice to students is short and simple: Make your dreams come true and strive for the best. “If there is anything you want to do, do it now. Make it possible. You are young and there are plenty of opportunities. There is nothing worse than looking back and thinking ‘I should have done that’. If you can do it, do it now!”