“I think I have a lot of qualities for the hospitality industry. I am polite and great at customer service.” – Ervin, Mt Druitt SLES Trainee.

Ervin, like many young job seekers, wants to find a job that’s the right fit for him. He wants a job that suits his interests, his character and will bring him satisfaction and meaning in the workforce.

The events of this year have placed immense pressure on the lives of many Australians. Job seekers are among the Aussies who need support now more than ever.

Thankfully Afford’s SLES (School Leaver Employment Support) program delivers just that for school leavers with disability. The program offers an encouraging environment where trainees are supported by experienced trainers to develop their skills, identify their strengths and get practical experience in a variety of workplaces.

Coronavirus has disrupted regular SLES industry visits to workplaces. Fortunately, thanks to strong industry connections, SLES trainer, Sharon, was able to secure a recent visit to the Mercure Hotel in Penrith – the first industry visit in over six months.

Following strict health practices, the Penrith and Mt Druitt SLES group included no more than six individuals and everyone wore masks, practised social distancing and frequently sanitised their hands. This experience was eye-opening for the trainees. It demonstrated how businesses and the hospitality industry have adapted to the ‘new normal’.

Trainees learned about the new digital sign-in process now required for hotel visits. This process helps staff monitor the number of visitors in the hotel at any one time to accommodate new health regulations. It was interesting for trainees to note the new skills such as digital savviness that industries are now implementing.

Directed by the hotel’s shift manager, Allison, trainees and Sharon enjoyed a tour of the hotel. Allison gave them a run-down of the roles and responsibilities of staff at the reception desk, in the foyer area, bar area, rooms and outdoor spaces.

Allison talked about all the different divisions that help run the hotel. She covered accounts, events, marketing, HR and customer complaints departments. Justin and Brody were surprised to learn that the hotel even has a team of inventors that work towards developing strategies to make the hotel run more efficiently.

The hospitality industry has been significantly affected by the global pandemic, so it was no surprise that trainees had many questions for Allison at the end of the tour. They asked about training, pay rates, shifts, hours and whether they offer work experience.

Industry visits give trainees the chance to experience the real-life running of a workplace. It is a chance to talk to people within the industry about work opportunities to see if it is a job that suits their interests.

Find out how Afford’s SLES program can support you to develop your skills, explore your job interests and find the right job for you.

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