Girts Mihalkins

BA in Hospitality & Tourism (with degree award option in Hotel, Restaurant & Resort Management)

Grits When Girts Milhalkins began his studies at LYIT he never thought he would be working in a Condé Nast listed luxury hotel in a few short years. Originally from Lativia, Girts moved to Ireland 10 years ago. A natural organiser with an eye for detail, his first job at 13 was directing cars where to park. Girts, 24, is the Conference and Banqueting Assistant Manager at the 5* Lough Eske Castle Hotel in County Donegal, where he’s responsible for ensuring that each event is executed perfectly, down to the tiniest detail. “Each day is so different, I really enjoy it.”

Girts’ journey at LYIT began with studying the Higher Certificate in Bar and Restaurant Supervision at the School of Tourism Killybegs.  He decided to go on to study a BA in Hotel, Restaurant and Resort Management, graduating in 2016. “If you want to be in the hotel industry this degree prepares you 100%,”  says Girts. He believes the course is excellent,  because it includes subjects which are relevant to industry and the School of Tourism has such an excellent reputation. He explains, “You know that what you’re learning every day you’ll use.” He feels the modules and the work placement thoroughly prepare students for working in the hotel and catering environment.

Being part of the team that won the international Gold Medal CATEX Cook / Serve Team Competition was a proud moment for Girts.  He also competed in the Association of European Hotel Schools Restaurant Service competition. “These international competitions  helped me focus my career development on food and beverage service to the highest professional standards, which I continue to do with my team at work today.” “I loved the Killybegs campus, it was so friendly and welcoming.” The teaching was first class, he adds, “Lecturers made it for me, you could tell they personally cared. It’s more like one-to-one mentoring.” Girts is glad he chose LYIT. “It’s a small world when you work in hospitality. I haven’t lost contact with the lecturers. They’ve opened doors for me internationally and continue to give me great advice.”

Girts was able to secure work placements abroad each summer in some of the top hotels in the world. This gave him valuable hands-on experience and helped him to focus on hotel management. “I’d the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C in America to manage a busy rooftop bar in the ultra-luxurious Capella D.C. It was an unforgettable summer.”

Optimistic about the future, Girts is excited to be returning to the School of Tourism. He’s about to study for a Level 8 Honours Degree in Hotel and Resort Management, funded by Springboard, “I know it’ll be great and will help me to grow in my career. It’s like returning home.”