Anne, Team Member, 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.
“In 2015 I walked into Wrexham Premier Inn and said “I want to work here”.
“You see, I‘d stayed in plenty of Premier Inns around the country over the years and when the time came to leave the Forces, I thought ‘I want to work here because everyone’s always so happy!’.
“I was adjusting to life outside of the Navy. As part of the resettling scheme you get to go and work anywhere for 2 weeks – paid for by the Ministry of Defence. I chose Premier Inn and it only took a week to know I’d found a home. The week was lots of fun being with a mix of Housekeeping and Reception, although I preferred front of house as I loved speaking with guests.
“I only wanted part time because, technically, I’d retired. I joined the Navy in 1978 as a Wren. I’d only worked in Littlewoods before that. At the age of 13 I’d set my heart on being in the Police but I was too short. My brother was in the Navy, and he hated it, but it didn’t put me off.
“I signed up at 18 as a Communicator, sending information from ship to shore. I was based all over – Gibraltar, Oman, Cyprus, Scotland, Cornwall, London. Everywhere. I moved where the job needed me to be.
“I had 24 years’ active service, then spent 12 years recruiting for the Navy in schools and colleges all over Wales. Talking to young people about life in the Forces.
“I loved the life. It taught me independence, skills, leadership, organisation. The team laugh at me because I have to have my breakfast shifts here just so! And that’s the point - all your life skills will come into play in this business. Whatever you’ve done previously.
“For a few years before I retired I’d say to my mum, ‘I’m going to work for Premier Inn’. I was working at Wrexham but when Lime Street hotel opened, I was desperate to join and come home.
“I love my team. They drive me insane because they’re not quite as organised as me – but then no one is! What we have is a desire to do well that drives us all on. It’s a happy place to work, I love coming here. For two mornings a week, whatever’s going on outside gets left at the door. I focus on this.”
“I can use my skills here. I can encourage younger ones. If you’re a Petty Officer, Corporal, Sergeant, and you’re looking for a career, Whitbread offers promotions, progression – similar to what you’re used to in the Forces. You work hard, you’ll get rewards here.
“I left Lime Street Station in 1978 to join the Navy and always said I’d return one day. So it’s fitting I’m working here now doing a role I love just as much.”