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HIT flying the flag for Scotland

Empowering Inspirational Development within Scottish hospitality.

Hit Scotland

At, we’re immensely proud of our continued association with Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland. HIT Scotland is a registered Trust that represents the whole of the hospitality and tourism sector in Scotland. For nearly a quarter of a century, the organisation has been fulfilling the Mission of “Assisting people to achieve their potential within Scottish hospitality” and it now has extensive support from all sectors of the industry.

Since its inception, the focus of the support that HIT offers support has grown. They now manage a scholarship programme that assists in developing “emerging talent” with over 2800 scholars benefitting since 2005. The scholarships are a mixture of local, national and international experiences and scholarships are awarded at the HIT Emerging Talent conference each year in February. The next conference will be at The Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow, on the 7th February 2019.

“These are really inspirational development opportunities and give individuals the chance to learn from the best of the best,” said David Cochrane, CEO of HIT Scotland. “When you see the look of surprise and joy on the faces of the emerging talent of our industry, at all ages, when they hear their name read out for a scholarship, it’s the best feeling ever and it makes all the work with events and fundraising we do worthwhile. Building a great HIT Scotland team and fantastic committees is also very rewarding, as we have so much talent working incredibly hard on behalf of the industry.”

Early career

David Cochrane has become a well-respected ambassador for talent in Scotland. After beginning his career at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, David started working for Norfolk Capital Hotels at the Caledonian Hotel. He subsequently joined Gardner Merchant as a chef manager, progressing to District training Co-ordinator covering the central region.

This experience led him into the Hotel and Catering Training Company, working with Youth Training and unemployment projects. David also undertook a Leonardo da Vinci European project to help implement Vocational Qualifications in Scottish prisons.

“The HCTC was a fantastic learning organisation,” David said. “The training it gave to its own people was superb and many of the original teams have gone onto great roles across the spectrum of hospitality and tourism UK wide. One great memory I have was working with Training for Work adults and Youth Training Scheme apprentices. Some of them had challenging backgrounds, however when they were introduced to our inclusive industry, coupled with the right training and support, they really started to motor in their careers and their skills, knowledge and their confidence rocketed. There were a few eye openers especially when you explored “the gap” in people’s CV’s only to find they had spent years in Her Majesty’s residences for a misdemeanour or two.”

David has also been the Training Manager at the internationally renowned Gleneagles hotel. He developed his passion for people development, and this led him naturally to take on the role of Chief Executive of HIT Scotland.

“The training and development at Gleneagles was, and still is amazing,” said David. “Their belief in looking after the staff and developing talent was a foundation that has built the great standards that are evolving year on year. I loved my time at Gleneagles and I still keep in contact with many current and previous employees who are friends for life.” David explained that the management at The Gleneagles always believed that they were there to support the staff which in turn would provide great service to the guests. “This inverted pyramid approach allowed the teams to develop and enabled individuals to feel empowered and to be able to deal with the many guests requests that were asked on a daily basis.”

In 2004 David was awarded the Industry Award for services to the hospitality industry in Scotland. Since working with HIT Scotland the Trust has awarded over 2800 scholarships for the emerging talent of the industry and 14,600 student bursaries.

Bursary scholarship programme

The HIT Scotland Bursary scholarship programme works in conjunction with Scotland’s Further and Higher Educational Institutions in awarding financial grants and learning experiences to students. “To date, HIT Scotland have provided financial support to over 14,600 hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism students,” said David. “This helps students continue in their studies with the ultimate aim of them entering our dynamic industry on completion. This also allows a cohort of students plus lecturers to travel to the oldest hotel school in the world, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne for a bespoke course to help with their broad awareness of industry standards.”

HIT Scotland facilitated the International Leadership School in Scotland which provided an Executive Masters programme in hospitality and tourism leadership. This enabled future leaders to develop a truly international outlook. The organisation also supports craft scholarships in the form of master classes, residential skills programmes and financial support of the Federation of Chefs Scotland.


As raising money goes, HIT Scotland puts the “fun” into fundraising. “We have 24 unique events throughout Scotland from lunches to dinners, golf days to Burn’s Supper Gatherings,” David said. “We also have an annual HIT London lunch to reflect the Scots in London. There has also been some innovative fundraising activity such as climbing Kilimanjaro, The Gran Paradiso in Italy and European car challenges to France and Germany. In 2017, a group of intrepid challenges climbed a large section of the Great Wall of China for the HIT the Wall Charity Challenge.”

Overall, around 2200 senior hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism people interact with HIT Scotland on an annual basis. Their events attract a number of senior suppliers to the industry too.

“All our events are put on by volunteer committees who deliver each event with heart and soul and a healthy approach to keeping things relevant to the local community ,” said David. “Due to the geographical nature of the events they all take on a personality of their own and this gives a different slant on the events as they showcase the best of Scotland in each location.”

Over the coming months, we’ll be bringing you more news about the amazing work that HIT Scotland does, as well a look at the careers scholarship winners.

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