Aaron's journey into the hospitality industry

by | Aug 25, 2021

My name is Aaron and I am 18 years old. For the last year I have been on the amazing, supported internship programme. Before the supported internship I was at William Morris School studying for my Level 2 exams. I had a small tuck shop business, which I ran at break times, which is what started me to get into the business world. 

I had heard about the supported internship when two people from Mencap came and spoke at my school. There were other programmes out there, but this was the one that I wanted to do, so when it came down to choosing, this was the best programme for where I wanted to end up. I really want to work in hotels, and this was a good step, as it meant that I could learn the ins and outs of the industry.   

While on the supported internship we did employability training such as travel training, talking with colleagues, time management, budgeting and lots of different aspects that we would need when we went into our placements.  

Back in October I started working at Novotel Waterloo in the food and beverage department and also as a conference porter. I really learnt a lot from Novotel. Learning how a hotel is run. Learning some of the business stuff like targets and budgets. What goes well in the year and what has gone bad, as well as the actual service side of being in a hotel and the quality that is needed to have at all times. 

In food and beverage I’m serving the guests clearing the tables, setting up tables for lunch and dinner, setting up the buffet, making sure everything is nice and clean including plates, cups and glasses, and making sure everything is well stocked up at breakfast. And if anything runs low I fill them back up, or take them to my team to fill them back up.  

As a conference porter, I make sure the breakout area is clean and everything is well stocked up and cups are clean. I also do room set ups for meetings and getting food for breaks. 

This is me with my manager Pieter and the HR manager Lorena.

My colleagues at Novotel are really friendly they really welcomed me into the world of working and into Novotel. They saw that I wanted to learn and they really taught me a lot over the past year. 

My favourite thing about working at Novotel is being able to give people a smile when I do food and beverage. Also being able to make them happy and that they feel satisfied and happy with the service that they have received. My favourite thing about being at Mencap is everything! But if I have to pick one is being able to go somewhere and socialise with my friends which I have made at the start of this internship. Some of the people on this internship were from my old school so I knew them already.  



The biggest challenge of the last year was waking up at 5am to go to work! Waking up to the alarm and thinking I have to get out of bed before I make myself late. On a more serious note the most challenging thing was actually taking that first big leap into the world of work and not being at school anymore.  

My most fun memory of the supported internship was going to the Novotel Christmas party, which was fantastic. It was such a good night out. I won a trip to Bucharest which is in Romania.  

My plan for the future is I want to open my own hotel and resort brand one day, so this is why I worked constantly and I was so pumped up to start this internship. This year has been a really good eye opener I don’t think I can ever go on holiday again and just enjoy and relax on my holiday because I will be looking around and understanding what people have to do day to day in a hotel.  

For me it is like I have never worked a day in my life, because I love what I do. It’s not about the money and it’s not about what comes after, I just enjoy my job so much. I now go into work and I think, ok I know what I need to do. It doesn’t have that effect on me like work which I don’t enjoy would have on me. I would just like to say this year has been the best year of my life, it has been a lot of ups and downs, it has been a big learning curve, there has been a lot of things that I have been stressed about but it has been the best. I would recommend this programme to everybody.

Youth Futures is delighted to support Mencap through our Inspiring Futures grant programme.

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