Emma Ware

Emma Ware

What company do you currently work for?

Glen Moray Distillery

What is your name?

Emma Ware

What is your job title?

Assistant Visitor Centre Manager

Provide a brief description of your business.

Glen Moray Distillery has been making whisky on the banks of the River Lossie since 1897. As well as making our world-famous single malt scotch whisky here in Speyside we also welcome visitors from around the globe to our Distillery Visitor Centre.

Describe your career pathway after leaving school.

I left school after taking my Highers in my fifth year and went on to study Hospitality Management at UHI Inverness (we weren't lucky enough to have the fabulous HATA Department at Moray College back then!). After working across various hospitality roles during my studies I worked in the office of a busy local engineer for a year before applying for a job at Glen Moray.

I started as a summer tour guide, staying on after the season as permanent staff, eventually becoming Senior Guide and then Assistant Manager as the business grew and we got busier.

Have you ever been an apprentice? If yes, please explain what this was, what this involved and why would you encourage others to undertake an apprenticeship.

I undertook a Modern Apprenticeship in Business Administration while working in the office, while this didn't go on to be my main career path it did back up my previous skill set in admin which was useful further down the line.

What school subjects would be helpful for your job role?

To work in a Distillery Visitor Centre the most important quality is your personality. But all types of subjects can be useful; Languages and Travel and Tourism can be a fantastic asset but equally so can Drama for those presentation skills! We also run a coffee shop here at Glen Moray so Food Technology and Hospitality related subjects are great too.

What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?

Every day is different, with its own challenges. Every tour you take has different people, and every tasting you do gets different reactions. A big part of my job is organising the behind-the-scenes, planning so that each guest has the best experience possible whether they want a quick introduction to whisky on their first trip to Scotland or they want an in-depth VIP experience because they have a life-long love of Glen Moray!

Why did you want to work in this industry?

I quite honestly fell into the industry, unknowing that 13 years later I would still be here and loving it.

Did you ever want to pursue another career?

A long time ago I thought about joining the Navy and travelling the world. But I fell in love and consequently stayed local and fell in love with our area and distilling and everything that goes with it.

What does a typical day in your role involve?

My day usually starts with checking emails for reservation enquiries and other business. Then checking in with the team and making sure they are all prepared and set for the day. Sometimes we have to make last-minute adjustments to rotas and plans for the day so it is good to stay flexible and to be able to offer cover and support to the Visitor Centre Assistants during busy periods.

I might have some high-end tastings or tours booked that day so I plan around that, planning time to catch up on any ongoing projects with my boss or weekly/monthly admin tasks.

Our team also look after presenting the brand at whisky festivals and events as well as coordinating corporate visits to the distillery which may include booking hotels, transport and hosting dinners etc.

And of course, there is lots of whisky to pour, every day!

What skills are required to do your job?

A lot of my role is organisation so being computer literate is pretty important and being able to work to deadlines. Being in a public-facing role you need to be a confident speaker and to be able to control your emotions at all times, people will always test you - some customers like to test your knowledge, and others will test your patience! The customer may not always be right but we are always looking for everyone to leave the distillery happy.

Knowledge is power so a willingness to learn is a huge advantage and a skill in itself.

What is your advice to young people who are considering working in this sector?

To go for it! Distilling is a fantastic industry that has so many opportunities for so many people, from production roles for people interested in chemistry and engineering to the physical workforce in warehousing. Of course, Visitor Centres are the ideal place to learn more about a site and other roles within a business, so you can never go wrong with a seasonal tour guide position to start with!
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Here at DYW Moray, we'd like to encourage those of you who are employed in Moray to share your career story with us so that we can promote these to Moray's young people. Go on, share your career story now!

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