As you read this, I will be coming to the end of my 12 month placement with YHA. I am currently studying international business at Loughborough University (the sporty one). As part of my degree I needed to secure a placement, to put into practice all that I had learnt in the previous two years of study. My mother, ever keen to help, first alerted me to this one. And what could be better! The ideal opportunity to combine being creative with my love of the outdoors.
I’ve been a keen hosteller from a young age; my first experience of YHA came at YHA Haworth with a primary school orienteering trip. My affection for YHA and the outdoors only grew while I completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. I’m fortunate to have visited some stunning locations so the idea of working with YHA, supporting and encouraging other young people to have adventures, really motivated me.
You may be wondering what a marketing assistant at YHA actually does? My main responsibility has been to support hostels with signage, special events and marketing materials. But there’s been plenty of variety too, with lots of opportunity to learn new things and really leave my mark.
My favourite project by far has been bringing YHA’s history to life with archivist, John Martin. A lot has happened over the last 85 years and John has mapped our past by researching and writing 120 hostel profiles. I helped John prepare, print and distribute these histories to hostels. Knowing that guests now have access to this information is really rewarding; I’m a big advocate of preserving local history for the benefit of future generations.
Since last September, I’ve visited 19 hostels. It would have been 20 if not for the Beast from the East which prevented my trip to the idyllic YHA Tanners Hatch. A firm favourite of mine would have to be YHA Boggle Hole — in my opinion the true definition of a hidden gem. Ideal for a family staycation or a couple’s retreat, the hostel offers so much to so many. And not forgetting the surfer’s paradise that is YHA Perranporth. Whether you go to stay, or to have lunch by the beach, this hostel (and its incredible view) is definitely worth the visit.
Next, I return to university to complete my degree. I would love to come back and work with YHA again — perhaps as a volunteer hostel manager to experience running a hostel for a week, or maybe, who knows, one day I might make it to trustee. Anyway, thanks for reading and happy hostelling to you all.
Craig Hopkinson, Marketing Assistant