Our specialist employability service has joined forces with a leading hotel to help support more adults with communication and learning difficulties into jobs within the hospitality sector.

Aspire to Be, managed by Doncaster Deaf Trust, is working with Mercure Doncaster Danum in a bid to provide more hands on, practical experience of working in a hotel.

As part of the initiative, the hotel will be offering work experience opportunities and supporting with mock interviews, site visits, hospitality information as well as guaranteed interviews when vacancies arise for those who apply from the Aspire to Be programme.

In addition, Aspire to Be has set up a mock hotel room at their Leger Way site that will be used to work with service users to breakdown certain tasks within a job role and explain in detail the different elements involved. The room has been inspected by the general manager of Mercure Doncaster Danum to make sure it is as realistic as possible and the hotel has also donated some freebies to add the finishing touches.

Neil Keeton, employment engagement officer at Aspire to Be, said: “A vital part of what we do here at Aspire to Be is to enable our service users to learn about the world of work and ensure that anyone who's capable of working can.

“For many years our service users may have been passed over or ignored due to their disability as some organisations only see employing them as a challenge but this is such a shame because we know how adaptable, capable and valuable these individuals can be within a workplace environment, they just need to be given an opportunity.

“Linking up with employers such as Mercure Doncaster Danum makes such a difference as it gives our service users real-life practical experience of the various roles within that sector whether that be from our mock hotel room which the hotel has helped with or through work experience, volunteering or mock interviews. This not only helps develop their skills and build on what they learn with us but also allows them to grow their confidence and self esteem.

“We are so thankful the hotel team for their support as we know how much it will help our service users and increase their chances of employment. The hotel really is a beacon for us to be able to demonstrate to employers how our service users can adapt in a work environment and become an integral part of any workforce.”

Andrea Hippsley, general manager of Mercure Doncaster Danum, said: “I am delighted to partner up with Aspire to Be as I firmly believe that those who have the capability of working should be given the chance to do so. I see this as an exciting opportunity, not a challenge and the team here at our hotel want to help in any way we can.

“Within the hospitality industry there are many different career opportunities consisting of catering and kitchen, housekeeping, front of house as well as maintenance and administration to name just a few so we have numerous roles to suit all individual skill sets. By working with us, Aspire to Be service users will have the opportunity in a variety of positions to showcase their skills and gain knowledge and experience which will be of great benefit to them and to us as well.”

Aspire to Be works in partnership with referring agencies such as local authorities, housing associations and job centres to provide people with a holistic programme incorporating education, employment and employability sessions alongside health and wellbeing support.

Covering the whole of the Sheffield City region, the programme benefits from an experienced and dedicated team who offer service users aged 19 and over a bespoke individualised plan which gives them the tools they need to help them find and stay in employment.

Added Neil: “Aspire to Be would love to hear from any employers in any sector who may want to get involved and support this employability programme. People with disabilities are an under utilised pool of talent and we are so pleased that Mercure Doncaster Danum is on board with us and leading the way in this area.”

If you are an employer or want to find out more about Aspire to Be, please contact 01302 386711, email: neil.keeton@cscd.ac.uk or visit  www.deaf-trust.co.uk/employability.