Chessington World of Adventures Resort

James

TS Founding Member
I was interested in working at Towers after uni, and it didn't appeal to me then due to the lack of job security. This was before all the cutbacks we've seen across the UK theme parks, so I can imagine it's even more unappealing now to those looking for fruitful employment.

I wouldn't say theme parks are the exception with this however. Holiday/caravan parks in the UK aren't too dissimilar, it's more suited to those really passionate about the industry or those that want a bit of a fun job before settling into something more serious and secure.
 

Benzin

TS Member
The way the parks currently operate make it extremely difficult for anyone who might want to really develop into a park role (or indeed, any upper management role) without basically being one of those over the top extreme job over life people... Also not helped by the fact you have no job to do for 4/5 months of the year...

I remember end of 2009 season Chessie has a mass departure of people due to changes they had made with staff areas and roles (I buggered off to uni personally)...

There's also the UK culture towards jobs like theme park worker (or indeed, any seasonal/part time job) where it's not seen as a prospective career... Whereas Europe and US have a lot of actual adults working at their parks compared to young adults, so there must be a lot more investment into the workforce in that regard...

Recently I looked at Efteling's job page and they were advertising free entrance for the applicant and their partner and family! Plus other discounts at other parks...
 

Matt Creek

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Just come back from Europa and was amazed to see the greater presence of older employees. Not only in their fourties,but their fifties and sixties as well (who’s to say early seventies), working on the ride platforms and consoles. I noticed this on at least three rides (but probably more). It was also amazing to see how much more relaxed they were despite efficient operations.

When I was working for Thorpe, I was one of the older hosts/platformers and even then I was just 24. We had some people aged in their thirties working in the department, however they all seemed to leave during the season for other things. I would say the average age for staff was around 19/20.

In the months leading from March to November, we probably lost no fewer than 25 staff members in our area alone. This does not include Team Leaders, where at least three of five also left (having worked there for several years).

Sadly I don’t There was much morale for staff there as they worked long stressful hours on minimum wage whilst dealing with high responsibility, strict procedures and often difficult visitors.
 

Coaster

TS Member
This is something that BPB are much better at than Merlin.

The majority of staff at PB have been there for years and many move up the chain to become rides and/or area managers. The Icon staff for example, most of them have been at the park for years and their professionalism is quite something.

I expect the shorter closed season helps with retaining staff, but it's good that they prioritise having a well experienced, long standing workforce over the less expensive options Merlin tend to go for.

The lack of professionalism at Thorpe at times is awful these days.
 

rob666

TS Member
I'd say the majority of staff at the Beach have been there a few years, some for many years, but a considerable number are let go at the end of the season.
A number of regular faces on the staff simply vanish at the end of each season, every year.
Theme park work in general is low status and pay...most seasonal work is.
You have to be in middle management before decent paykicks in.
 

Alsty

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Shambhala
Of course it also helps the wage bill to employ under 25s since the minimum wage is lower.
Back in the Tussauds days (2000ish) staff under 25 still got paid the over 25s rate. In fact I think everyone was slightly above minimum wage by about 20p (not sure). I don't know what the score is these days under Merlin.
 

MattyH

TS Member
Favourite Ride
GIIBBB
Back in the Tussauds days (2000ish) staff under 25 still got paid the over 25s rate. In fact I think everyone was slightly above minimum wage by about 20p (not sure). I don't know what the score is these days under Merlin.

Last I heard they were paying everyone the minimum wage for over 25s
 

OilyWater

TS Member
How dare they expect him to pay his staff a wage they can actual live on. What a lovely gentlemen he is.

No surprise this culture leads to staff on the frontline who don’t care about the guest experience. Why should they care when their employer doesn’t give a monkeys about them?
Same goes for his attitude towards contractors, attraction designers, etc, which he also brings up in that article.

His comment on how contractors "dont keep their promises" is off-putting, when Merlin give usually totally unreasonable project timeframes compared to other parks, offer no budget for R&D, etc.

If you're asking for the kind of highly specialist products Merlin want, you need to invest in R&D and collaborate with your contractors. Rushing every stage of a project, unreasonable penalty clauses in contracts, and refusing to give final payments for frivolous reasons, is going to give you results like Derren Brown, etc.

As far as I'm aware, Nick Varney has held the same attitude for contractors, including those who have transformed his attractions and been a large part of Merlin's early success, for decades. He treats the idea that any other company in the industry should be making a profit except for Merlin like a joke.

But Merlin can afford to behave like this towards anyone else in the industry, because they own pretty much everything – there's nobody else to do 'headline' work for.

Now and then you do get the genuinly rubbish contractor, who inexplicably still get used even after shoddy work (usually because theyre cheap and Merlin go for lowest cost). But the biggest problem hindering innovation in the UK industry today is Merlin and the way it's structured, not contractors.
 

MaxPower

TS Member
To get people who really care and understand the business you need to promote from within, but businesses such as Alton Towers seem to prefer people who have the right qualifications rather than experience which is wrong IMO.

Too many companies take this approach and it often backfires due to a complete lack of understanding at upper management level as to how the business works.

I used to think that it was just Merlin holding Alton Towers back but from what I've been hearing recently, park management is as much to blame.

At this point I've lost hope completely that things will improve until something drastic happens at board level.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Just seen this pop up on Facebook:



Looks like an annoucement will be made on October 17th. Anyone got any ideas?

:)
 

Funcone

TS Member
I know Merlin are a bit cash strapped. They're probably selling the big compass in Market Square. They're closing down one of their Sea Life Centres in a few weeks. It looks like they're having a bit of a clear out.
 

MiserableMonkey

TS Member
Favourite Ride
X2
Back in the Tussauds days (2000ish) staff under 25 still got paid the over 25s rate. In fact I think everyone was slightly above minimum wage by about 20p (not sure). I don't know what the score is these days under Merlin.

These days, nobody in Merlin is paid less than the minimum wage for 21 year olds.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I don't know if it's possible in that building but I'd love to see a funhouse like Hotel Tartüff at Phantasialand. Although H&S would probably have something to say about that.

:)
 

Benzin

TS Member
Problem with anything in that building is that the first floor (i.e. above Hocus Pocus) is administration and security offices... Not sure if they can do much with it overall as an actual building either...

Will likely be a basic retheme to a popular kids IP, likely featuring a witch and/or broom...



EDIT - This is my new favourite marketing campaign from Merlin https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-56579148.html
 
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