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HMA Spotlight on… Pauline Houston, co-founder of HUGS UK

HUGS UK a not for profit initiative founded in 2020 as a response to the number of redundancies in the hospitality sector during COVID-19. Since then it has received amazing coverage, gathered a global following on LinkedIn and developed a wealth of resources for job seekers.  The need for the resources has become ever more important as the crisis continues so we touched base with Pauline to get an update on her plans for HUGS UK. How did HUGS UK come about? HUGS UK was launched in the Summer of 2020, in light of the significant impact of the Pandemic, to the travel, hospitality, TMC and event industries. It was aimed at using collective career guidance experience from those in the industry, to help those affected. HUGS has been very well received in the industry in the last year, what has surprised you the most about the response to the initiative? There has been a huge amount of support from both individuals and associations. Sadly, the demand for career guidance and mental wellbeing advice, has continued to grow. We are seeing the ongoing impact to the industry and we have and will continue to support people who could have been made redundant more than once in the last year and may be very vulnerable and emotionally fragile. How did you pull together the resources you’ve got on the HUGS LinkedIn pages? Thankfully we have a large and experienced network, so we used the power of social media and recruited volunteers through LinkedIn. We ensure that our ‘Super Huggers’ have relevant experience to be able to make a difference to those needing support. How can people access the resources? Visit our HUGS UK LinkedIn page. We do not delete any content, so you can read all of our historical content on there by scrolling down. We continue to post relevant information and have a daily job vacancies post. Are you going to keep HUGS going after the pandemic is over? We will continue to keep HUGS UK going as long as our followers need us. What are your top 3 tips for those that have recently been made redundant? Only 3 ☹. The first is to not panic and mentally adjust to your new situation, write a plan of activity you need to do, update your LinkedIn profile and CV (see HUGS UK for tips and tricks) and take a focused job-hunting approach and leverage your network wherever possible.

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