A University Centre Rotherham student has been nominated for the Mirror’s Tourism Superstar of the Year Award for his fantastic work at Matlock Farm Park. George Finlay, an apprentice on the Chartered Manager Degree, has been nominated for going the extra mile at the park to ensure a memorable holiday or day trip for visitors. The award was launched by Mirror Travel and VisitEngland 10 years ago, with thousands of nominations being received each year. With a beaming smile and infectious enthusiasm, George is being recognised for his approachable manner and dedicated work on the park’s social media pages.
When the park was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, George created weekly Facebook Live Broadcasts to provide virtual, interactive experiences for customers, keeping spirits high and also contributing to boosting the park’s ticket sales, upon reopening.
Speaking about his experiences of working through lockdown, George commented on the importance of local attractions such as the animal park.
He said: ‘’Throughout lockdown, it became clear how much the farm and the animals meant to our customers. Visitors have genuine connections with our animals and were desperate to know how they were getting on.
‘’People would message me when they were down, asking for videos of our animals such as the meerkats, and it brought people a lot of joy in a time of uncertainty.’’
As well as having a passion for social media, George likes to get stuck in with caring for the larger animals and collecting heavy hay bales. He stated that working at Matlock Farm Park is a true joy, and something which he loves to do.
He said: ‘’I loved to put smiles on peoples faces through an interactive experience.’’
When George isn’t tending to the animals or the marketing side of things at the park, he is busy studying to become a Chartered Manager at University Centre Rotherham.
On his degree apprenticeship, which is delivered in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), George and his classmates acquire skills and knowledge in subjects that range from Leadership, Project Management and Finance.
The skills and knowledge that George learns about management and running a business come in handy whilst he works at the farm and set him up for his future career.
The winner for the Tourism Superstar Award will be announced on Friday the 25th of March and we wish George the best of luck!