It was reported in the UK Student Accommodation Report 2019/20 ­­­­that there had been a surge in demand for purpose-built student accommodation. The private sector provided 87% of the accommodation in the UK. Charlie Macgregor is the owner of the Amsterdam based The Student Hotel that globally provides student accommodation.

Charlie, unlike the many students he provides support to in the way of accommodation, never got the chance to go to university.  He was raised in East Lothian and was privately educated near to Edinburgh but instead of being studious, he rebelled.  Charlie was told at school that he was stupid, wouldn’t get anywhere, or have a future career.  However, this was counterproductive.  His defence mechanism was to rebel and give up trying.  There was only one direction for him to go, getting detentions and subsequently being kicked out of school.  Although he had never been tested for dyslexia, many people believed he was, so he grew up assuming it.  This was reinforced when he realised that his youngest child had similarities to him when looking confused at the text.  Charlie likes to work with his hands but, as he doesn’t consider himself as an academic, he prefers to avoid theoretical approaches to work.

As a dyslexic, he believes he is super visual.  He has an ability to see the energy and also believes that he can compensate verbally, emotionally.  

After leaving school Charlie worked in the construction industry which was the building blocks to his success.  Whilst his peers went to university, Charlie works hard and life became his education; working on building sites made him streetwise.  However, Charlie believes the U.K. only values university education and doesn’t recognise that other types of education.  Entrepreneurial skills and talent built on the foundation of life experience are not valued in the U.K.  Charlie believes Europe has a different outlook to that of the U.K.  It doesn’t really have a class system compared to the UK.  A student can either take the vocational route or academic route and regardless of the route, talent is invested in and valued.

Six years ago, Charlie had 14 employees.  In his fast-moving business, he now has 600 employees and over the next two years, he expects this to increase to 1,200.  As his business expands and looks to recruit new staff, he runs casting days.  When Charlie is employing new staff, he doesn’t necessarily look for qualifications, he looks for people with character.  In his opinion, you can teach a barman the relevant skills, but if they don’t have character then it doesn’t work.  In return for working for The Student Hotel, the company is prepared to invest and teach staff new skills to allow them to move up the career ladder and move between departments.  Not only is The Student Hotel looking to invest in people, but they are also looking for people who are keen and willing to learning.