Shelley came to Hospitality Workers Training Centre [HWTC] in early 2016, with an assumption that it was just another employment agency that might help her find work in restaurants. It was her way to recover from highly stressful and precarious jobs in the retail industry. It was also her effort to get financially stable and off social supports. At that time, she was under tremendous pressure and skeptical about change.
Today she is glad that she did not let her doubts take over. She took our Guest Services course early this year and after her training placement at the Toronto Don Valley Hotel & Suites (TDV), was hired by the hotel in switchboard and reservations.
We had a quick and candid chat with Shelley about her experience with the training centre and the hospitality industry:
Best Training Memory – A Second Chance: It was the time she was due to start her unpaid training placement, an important part of HWTC’s training courses as it not only provides job experience but also the opportunity to showcase one’s skills to potential employers. Unfortunately Shelley fell sick and couldn’t appear for her placement, missing her window of opportunity. HWTC was able to find her a replacement placement upon her recovery – at TDV, one of our key industry partners. She remembers how everyone at the hotel welcomed her and all her anxiety dissipated. “When I was sick, HWTC adjusted and TDV gave me a chance. It is good to know that they don’t give up on people.”
Experience in Customer Service – Attitude is Everything: Being a guest service agent is a tough job, as you interact with a variety of people and respond to many different moods and situations. Shelley thinks the key to success in this field is to have patience, and consistently maintain a positive attitude. These two traits go a long way in resolving tough situations, according to Shelley.
About Her Continued Relationship with HWTC: Shelley has been an active member of Hospitality Hangout [HH], our weekly meet-up group for hospitality workers and HWTC graduates. As a platform for networking, learning and sharing your own stories, HH has proved to be an important part of our continued relationship with Shelley.
“At Hospitality Hangout, we talk about our week, solve problems together, we laugh and cry together and eat (which is a lot of fun!). And we get a chance to network with people from the industry. It is wonderful to be able to have such a group and is worth coming down for every Wednesday.”
Message to New Entrants: Working in a stable and fair job in the hospitality industry, Shelley actively advocates about skill training as a route to employment:
“In this industry, even if you don’t have formal, fancy education but have the skills and attitude to succeed, you can go a long way. I meet so many people who had started working at entry levels in hotels and have grown so much over time. They have so much knowledge and experience gained by working their way up. That was an eye-opener for me.”