My name is James Bartolo and I am a 51 year old warranted mechanical engineer having obtained my degree from the University of Malta in 1988. For the past 27 years I have always worked in the manufacturing industry with various roles but predominantly in the maintenance sector. Recently I have also obtained an MBA from the University of Malta to obtain a theoretical background to the financial and managerial aspect of my job. As part of my career development I have decided to move to the hospitality sector, another of Malta’s major industries.
- How long have you been working at the hotel?
I have been working at Hilton for the past seven months.
A hotel is a 24 hour 365 day operation so one must be prepared to work long and at times flexible hours. In general, however, I work Monday to Friday from 7.30am till around 6.30pm.
- What does being an engineer in hotel entail?
This is not an easy question to answer since the work has many facets to it. Of course one must have a sound knowledge of basic engineering principles together with a practical nature to be able to solve technical problems, team-oriented management style and diplomatic skills for personnel and guest issues, have a sense of urgency coupled with a persevering and committed nature to tackle day-to-day and long term issues. And, above all, to always focus on the solution rather than on the problem.
- On an average day what might you do?
A typical day starts with an analysis and follow-up of the main issues from the previous day as well as planning out the work for the day. This will be shared with the rest of the Management during the morning briefing. For the rest of the morning I normally go round the hotel, seeing the various works and attending any meetings with suppliers, etc. In the afternoon I then try to catch up with the administrative side of the work as well as technical reports, engineering projects, etc.
- What do you like about working in a hotel?
The dynamic atmosphere coupled with meeting a great variety of people from all parts of the world keeps one mentally young and helps to broaden one’s cultural horizon. On the technical aspect there is also the chance to be exposed to latest technologies.
- What is one of the challenges you face working in a hotel?
Many of the problems that crop up require very fast solutions and this is not always conducive to choosing the best solutions
- What would you say to a student who would like to work in the tourism industry?
This industry is a demanding one but can also be very rewarding and give you much satisfaction if you approach it with the right attitude. Being one of Malta’s main industries there will always be openings for good workers here which is a comforting thought while for those who are willing to work abroad there is really no limit to where they can go.