Joseph Unwin from Visit York has been awarded UKinbound’s Young Excellence Award at the association’s annual Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner, which took place last night at Aerospace Bristol.
Unwin was presented his accolade by actor and comedian James Redmond, in-front of an audience of over 300 tourism industry professionals. Unwin is only the third person to receive this award, following its inauguration last year, which saw Ryan Sanders from Brunel’s SS Great Britain and James Berry from MBNA Thames Clippers announced as joint winners.
An independent judging panel comprising Susan Deer, ABTA; Patrick Richards, ETOA; and Dr. Karen Thomas, Canterbury Christ Church University, were inspired by Unwin’s story.
Joseph is a young man who has overcome profound shyness to undertake a BTEC in tourism and become a vibrant permanent staff member at Visit York. He travels each day for 90 minutes and his employers say that his love for tourism and the city of York beams through as he attentively helps customers plan their trips.
Initially a timid young man with a love of maps and history books, during the last three years at York’s visitor centre, Unwin has really come out of his shell, rising to a challenge and pushing himself outside of his comfort zone.
His keenness to learn has led him to work on the visitor centre’s Christmas Market chalet, where he discovered a confidence for selling. Unwin is also learning British Sign Language and wants to learn Spanish, which is an important developmental milestone for someone that was once too apprehensive to talk to overseas visitors.
Joss Croft CEO UKinbound commented “In a nutshell, we need more people like Joseph to work in the British tourism industry. We already have substantive skills and labour shortages and the end of Free Movement is going to have a big impact on the industry’s workforce. It is clear that Visit York have done a fantastic job of developing and nurturing Joseph to help him gain valuable and transferable skills as well as building his confidence. It is also heartening to hear that he wants to learn Spanish as the industry desperately needs more foreign language speakers.
“His commitment and enthusiasm will be an inspiration to others and it is clear that Joseph has a promising career ahead of him.”
Julie Brookes, Visitor Information Centre Manager at Visit York said: “Joseph is a credit to the team and we are all so proud that he has won this incredible award. Since he joined the team in 2016 it has been so wonderful to see how his confidence has grown and how his customer service and selling skills have developed. Joseph always goes above and beyond when helping our customers, going to great lengths to ensure visitors get the highest quality service when they come through our doors. The feedback he receives is brilliant and it is so fantastic to see him recognised in this way on a national scale.”
Joseph Unwin, Visitor Information & Sales Assistant, Visit York said “I’m delighted to win this award and to have been nominated by my colleagues. I love York and really enjoy my role in the Visitor Information Centre helping people plan their trip to York and get the best experience for their visit. I feel that I’ve really grown so much since I joined the Visit York team and I am so excited to receive this special award.”