The students, all of whom are local and have learning disabilities, have successfully completed a nine month long supported internship at the hotel. One of the graduates, Nadia Chahine, has accepted a permanent role in the hotel’s Tea Salon and the remaining students are currently interviewing with potential employers, including The Arora Group, which manages and operates Sofitel London Heathrow.
The hotel is continuing its partnership with Project SEARCH, with a new intake of 10 students due to commence their internships in September 2016.
James Berry, General Manager of the hotel, commented: “We are delighted to celebrate the success of this year’s Project SEARCH graduates. Each and every one of the students has shown real dedication and commitment to the course and we’re delighted to have supported them in what is a great achievement. We are also thrilled to welcome Nadia to the team and will continue to work with her as she takes on her new role in our Tea Salon.”
Sandy Beer, European Programme Specialist for Project SEARCH, commented: “It’s fantastic to celebrate the achievement of our eight graduates today. The ongoing success of Project SEARCH is very much dependent on the commitment and dedication of our partners.
Sandy continued: “The team at Sofitel London Heathrow has worked alongside Ealing Hammersmith and West London College, Remploy and Hillingdon Council to ensure that the students have had a stimulating, enjoyable and beneficial placement. Our students now have a multitude of new skills as well as a self-confidence that will help their future development, both personally and professionally. We’re all looking forward to following our graduates’ progress as they secure roles as a result of their internships.”
Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure full-time, paid employment for young people with intellectual, developmental and physical difficulties and the key to this programme is to bring together education, training and work skills in a real-life working environment.
During their time at the hotel, the interns worked across three different junior operational roles including in the staff canteen, kitchen, guest relations, meetings and events, room service, restaurant and house-keeping. The aim being to immerse the interns in a work environment whilst assessing their needs and teaching them about the responsibility and requirements expected from them in a workplace.
Sofitel London Heathrow is directly connected to London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 by a covered walkway and just 5 minutes’ drive from both the M25 and the M4. The hotel features 605 spacious guest rooms including 27 suites and extensive conference and events space - including a purpose built auditorium - accommodating up to 1,300 delegates in its largest function room.
The hotel has three restaurants; 3 AA rosette winning La Belle Epoque (which sits alongside the Perrier-Jouët Champagne Bar), Vivre (hot wok, deli, grill and pizza) and the Tea 5 Salon serving traditional afternoon tea seven days a week as well as Sphere Bar & Lounge and a 24-hour gym and luxurious day Spa featuring five treatment rooms, steam, sauna and high tech Vitality pool.
The Sofitel Heathrow is managed and operated by The Arora Group under a franchise agreement with Accor Hotels.