The couple who miss Durham now they work in the Swiss Alps

PUBLISHED: 02:22 30 April 2012 | UPDATED: 21:20 20 February 2013

The couple who miss Durham now they work in the Swiss Alps

The couple who miss Durham now they work in the Swiss Alps

There's one little corner of Switzerland that will be forever Durham, as James Hastings reports

Jocelyn Schofield likes to keep the window of her office, perched on a mountain overlooking Montreux, slightly open. That way, the sounds of the citys famous jazz festival can drift up while she prepares for anothers days work at one of the worlds top hospitality schools.

Jocelyn, originally from Durham, is the Academic Dean and Programme Leader at the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland, where she has charge of 600 students from a diverse student body with over 95 nationalities.

But even though her office provides stunning views across Lake Geneva, the Alps and the rooftops of bustling Montreux, Jocelyn has a confession: I sometimes wouldnt mind the smell of a traditional British breakfast wafting up from below.

In a recent survey of the hospitality industry worldwide, Glion was voted among the top three schools of its kind. Students including an increasing number from the UK go on to top careers in tourism, catering, event management, airlines, cruise liners and five star hotels.
In Britain, A Level students seem to automatically go through UCAS to find university places, but now the fees are so high, we are receiving a lot more applications from British students, Jocelyn said.

Life in Switzerland is something of a family affair for Jocelyn. Her husband, Ed, is a lecturer at Glions second campus, Bulle. The couples two children, Alix and Kit, attended local schools and are now bilingual in French and English, with good levels of German as well.

While she lives in the heart of Europe, with France and Italy only a short train ride away, Jocelyn regularly returns to the North East for holidays.
I have only fond memories of the North East, especially the friendliness of the people. My early life was spent in Chester-le-Street and Bearpark near Durham, but my family now lives in Darlington and Sedgefield.

I was a member of Durham Young Farmers and so my memories are linked to the beauty of the land and the people. My brother, Simon Edwards, who everyone seems to know, played rugby for Durham and Gosforth.

When I lived in Bearpark, it was still an operating mine. Going back now is such a transformation with the new housing developments which used to be fields where Id ride my horse.

The hospitality industry has played a key role in Jocelyns life. Not only does she teach it, its also how she met Ed. I was working as a barmaid at The Royal County Hotel in Durham where Ed was deputy manager and it was love at first sight, she smiles.

So, what does the woman who teaches hospitality in one of the worlds top hospitality schools, think of the industry in the North East?

There are many excellent hotels, both traditional and cutting edge and they are excellent because of the service they offer and the friendliness of their staff.

I do miss the traditional British breakfast as well as pub food and the atmosphere. The French style caf is great but the North East pub culture is unique the food they serve is so much better than it used to be and the price is so reasonable.

A favourite place for me is Hurworth near Darlington. It is amazing how this small village has so many gastro pubs and of course now Rockcliffe Hall with Kenny Atkinson.

Students at Glion have to wear business attire during the day to teach them the highest standards of professionalism and excellence something Jocelyn remembers learning from her father.

My dad was Ken Edwards who owned the opticians M.K Walker in the Market Place in Durham, on Old Elvet, in Spennymoor and Crook. From an early age, he taught me the value of customer service. Dad remembered customers names and their history even if they hadnt been to see him in years.

That is very much what we instil into our students who will, after all, be
working at the highest level of the hospitality industry.

From here to the world


For further information on Glion, go to www.glion.edu and if you are from the North East and work abroad, tell us your story by emailing neleditor@archant.co.uk


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