Internship programme takes off at Sofitel Heathrow

A major airport hotel is giving young people with learning disabilities the skills to gain paid employment in meetings and events.

Sofitel London Heathrow –directly connected to Terminal 5 – is working in partnership with REMPLOY and ProjectSEARCH to offer internships to ten students from Ealing and Hillingdon and Hammersmith & West London College.

The interns, who have a variety of different learning difficulties are in employment with the hotel for 9 months on a supported internship working within the academic calendar Monday – Friday from 9am until 3pm. The student’s internship also includes onsite classroom time with a tutor from the college to assess how their day has gone and to learn other communication, problem solving and job skills.

During their time at the hotel, the interns will work across three different junior operational roles within the hotel – one in each term – with roles in meetings and events, staff canteen, kitchen, guest relations, room service, restaurant and house-keeping. T

Over the year, the hotel aims to teach each student a multitude of new skills as well as providing them with a self-assurance and self-confidence that will help in the development of their future, both personally and professionally.

Anna Dowling, general manager of the hotel, said: “We are delighted to be the host business providing on-site internship experiences to young adults with learning difficulties. The students are as excited as we are to be part of this journey in preparing them for competitive employment. This is our first time working with ProjectSEARCH and we are probably learning as much as the students in these early days of the project, but misconceptions of ability is something these young adults struggle with every day, and to be able to watch as they gain confidence and skills over the weeks is incredibly exciting.”

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