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Bourne Leisure
Rachel Simkin - Head of Experience at Little Sea
Ten years of new experiences

I’m currently Head of Experience at Littlesea Holiday park, and this is my tenth season! I started at Rockley Park as a Bar Team Member and I clearly remember my very first day which was, of course, A Breath of Fresh Air culture training. I really enjoyed it and thought that it really suited me as an individual. The plan at that point was just for a year of fun on a holiday park – I never expected to still be here nearly 10 years later, or that I had an incredible career ahead of me.

My first year moved very quickly. I tried my hand at a number of different roles, firstly in the Harbourside Restaurant as a Team Leader and then as Assistant Mash and Barrel Manager for the rest of the year. I also spent time in the kitchen at Papa Johns and had a little spell frying in Cooks Fish and Chip Shop. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to jump in and learn so much and that was just in year one.

In year two, I took the role of Show Bar Manager, my first manager role, and also signed up to be a  Breath of Fresh Air Pioneer – perhaps the most satisfying role I’ve had in my 10 years so far. I only stayed in the role for half the year, as an opportunity came up to become the Owners’ Lounge Manager, a role I enjoyed for nearly four years. This is where owners really became my passion and I progressed into my first Head of Department role as Owners Experience Manager in Yorkshire. This was now my fifth year in Haven and arguably the most challenging: it was certainly a steep learning curve.

After a year in sunny Yorkshire a fantastic opportunity came up to move back down South to join the team at Littlesea, where I took on the role of Guest Experience Manager. For three years I looked after the Owners and Holidays Department as well as supporting the Accommodation and Lettings teams on park. This gave me great exposure to all aspects of the holiday park business.

For just over a year now I’ve been in role as Head of Experience. In this role I look after all things team, holiday maker and owner related – it’s a brilliant role that gives me the chance to really understand what a great experience looks like.

It’s about living the life of team, guests, and owners every day. In 2014 I attended a Setting Sail Team Leader course, and in 2016 a Next Generation development programme that supported me into my Head of Department role. I’m now hoping to join the ‘Grow to’ General Manager/Senior Leader course. I’ve also gained first aid qualifications and Level 3 Food and Hygiene in my time here, as well as signing up for a Level 5 NVQ. 

I’ve been fortunate to work with some incredible leaders and role models at Haven, who have supported and developed me into the person I am today. The beauty of working for Haven is the passion we have about developing great team into Team Leaders, Team Managers, Head of Departments and beyond. I’m a different person today from when I joined, and I put a lot of that down to the Haven culture and the people who have taken the time to see something in me I didn’t even know existed. As a result, I’m incredibly proud of the job I do and the person I’ve become.