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Kay, Housekeeper, Premier Inn

Getting back into the working world after a while, or embarking on something new later in life can be daunting. Fear, self doubt and questioning whether it’s even possible is holding people back from starting a new chapter in their life. At Whitbread, we want to turn around the negatives and help you change your story – both the stories you tell yourself about lack of confidence, ability or employability, and your future ambitions too. You’re at the best place to #ChangeYourStory, with the UK’s leading hospitality business.


Before this job I’d mostly done bar work, with some cleaning here and there. Actually, until Covid I had my own cleaning business but when it didn’t become viable anymore I ended that.


A friend had a job at Premier Inn as a Housekeeper. She told me they were hiring in her team so I applied, I went in and had a trial shift.


Honestly, I’d never worked in a hotel before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d done domestic house cleaning, but I went in there with an open mind. My first impressions were it was hard work – I don’t think people appreciate just how physically hard work it is. But, once you know what you’re doing, it’s like muscle memory, your body adapts and you get faster and faster.


I got the job, joined the team and I haven’t looked back. Working at Premier Inn fits in with my family life. My youngest is 4, the oldest is 16. So this fits with school times - not too early a start, no late finish, the odd day at the weekend. If you want time off, just ask in advance.


It’s challenging but what keeps me going is I’m also doing something for me. This is my time. The kids won’t be with me forever and I want them to see I’m in a job that I enjoy doing. Some people might think ‘she’s just a cleaner’ but we take pride in what we do here. We’re an amazing team, we’ve got each others’ backs and the work we’re doing here keeps Premier Inn on top with our guests.


I see a future with Premier Inn. I love how this business works and the support they give you. They make you feel like nothing’s too much bother. The incentives help, there’s perks at work too which gives you money off your shopping – and we get a bonus. I’ve got an ambition to be Head Housekeeper and I want to do it here.


Applying for the Head Housekeeper role was what led me to my apprenticeship. I didn’t get the job because I didn’t have enough experience. So, to get the job I want, I needed to advance my skills. The apprenticeship was mentioned as a way to do that so I said to my Hotel Manager – sign me up!


If that helps me get the job I want, I’ll do it. I’m not worried about people thinking I’m too old for an apprenticeship. No-one is. I had my first child at 23. I went to college, but I hadn’t done any studying for 25 years.


I’ve nearly given it up a few times, I can’t lie! But the apprenticeship co-ordinator I have is great.


Some people might think “you’re in your 40s and you’re doing an apprenticeship”, yes I am – I’ve got an opportunity to better myself. Twenty years ago someone in their 40s probably wouldn't have thought do an apprenticeship. I’ll have a certificate at the end that says you can do this job and you’re good at it. That makes me proud.


Don’t ever doubt yourself. I did, for years. But when you doubt yourself you start coming up with excuses for not being able to do things. Give yourself some credit – you can do it.


Be part of our team at Premier Inn.


#ChangeYourStory with shifts to suit everyone at the UK’s leading hospitality business here…

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We get to serve an amazing 25 million customers each month in the UK.

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A new kind of hotel for Premier Inn

A new kind of hotel for Premier Inn

The first ZIP will be opening in Cardiff March 2019, with more coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled for a ZIP near you.