WorkFit North West has recently been working with Premier Inn in Manchester to offer paid, 12 week work experience placements.
Aaron began his placement at the start of February, working for two shifts each week for 12 weeks. As a member of the housekeeping team Aaron was cleaning bedrooms and bathrooms, re-stocking bedroom items, changing beds etc. in a demanding and detailed role. He then went on to be part of the Breakfast service team working as a Breakfast Assistant where he welcomed hotel guests to breakfast, re-stocked food items and cleared and reset tables. Aaron has been given a valuable overview of the hospitality industry so that he can consider this as a future career path.
Premier Inn is a well-known brand of the Whitbread Group which has made a commitment to offer genuine opportunities to jobseekers of all abilities to support their career aspirations and attract committed and talented candidates to their organisation. Their ethos is to recruit for personality and train for skills to ensure that their focus is not restricted to qualifications and experience but instead, is about identifying people who can bring enthusiasm, dedication and diversity and fulfil their potential to be valuable members of a fast growing and supportive team.
Premier Inn has been on the WISE (Whitbread Investing in Skills and Employment) journey for three years and has an established programme in place. Premier Inn offer Employment Placements to people of all ages who are not in education, employment or training. Our partnership with WISE supports our objective to source meaningful employment opportunities for our candidates and we anticipate working with them in locations across England and Wales.
Prior to the placements beginning, Premier Inn staff in three of the hotels in the Central Manchester cluster were given WorkFit training to give them an understanding of the condition including the facts and myths about Down’s syndrome, how to ensure good communication, supporting the learning profile of someone with Down’s syndrome and the strengths of people with Down’s syndrome.
“We are delighted to be supporting jobseekers of all abilities in the local community and have benefitted from some in depth training from the WorkFit Employment Development Officer regarding how to support colleagues with learning disabilities.” – Ben, Cluster Manager (Central Manchester).
Feedback from the training was very positive with comments like: “enlightening, broadened my knowledge, found it incredibly interesting;” and “I feel better equipped to support a person with Down’s syndrome in the workplace;” and “it has really helped me to understand what to expect and this training will help me in the future to develop others and myself.”
Aaron has really enjoyed his time at the hotel and in particular feels that he has made some great friends and learned lots of new skills. Colleagues Charlotte and Stacey (pictured, right) were complimentary of Aaron’s outgoing personality and enthusiasm. He is very popular with staff and feels part of the team: “I like my job here. I help everyone and I always say good morning or good afternoon to guests.”
Operations Manager, Rachel has been impressed by the way that Aaron has coped with the workload and how quickly he has picked up new tasks: “It’s been a pleasure to have Aaron here with us; he is a lovely young man and we have all learned a lot.”
Aaron has had fantastic support and training from colleagues at Premier Inn who have been enthusiastic and committed to supporting the WorkFit programme. This valuable experience of a high-volume and high-profile hospitality environment has given him some excellent experience.
The Down’s Syndrome Association’s WorkFit programme has supported the WISE objectives with this placement and the team at Premier Inn, Manchester have found that working with Aaron and the support from WorkFit North EDO, have provided a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills around supporting colleagues with a learning disability. They have had some very positive feedback from both staff and customers about the initiative which has undoubtedly enhanced their corporate image, and more importantly, given them a valuable insight into how they can provide more opportunities to a dedicated and willing pool of talented individuals. It has helped them to gain an understanding of the skills and abilities of people with Down’s syndrome and has had a positive impact on delivering their inclusion and diversity agenda.
In working together with Whitbread Group we have been able to support WorkFit’s goals and objectives in securing meaningful work opportunities as part of our over-arching objective of helping people with Down’s syndrome to live full and rewarding lives. Further opportunities with Premier Inn are now in development.
WorkFit supports people with Down’s syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives.