I’ve got my dream job at Hilton, says Down’s syndrome worker

Sam Innes has his dream job (Hilton)
Sam Innes has his dream job (Hilton)

A man who has Down’s Syndrome says he’s been promoted to his dream job at a luxury hotel in London’s West End.

Sam Innes, 24, won rave reviews from global customers while serving breakfast at The Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych.

After studying business and retail at college, Camden-born Sam found a love for hospitality.

He joined the hotel chain’s Down’s Syndrome Association Workfit programme, where his skill set and aspirations were matched.

Having worked one day a week Mr Innes, who lives in Chalk Farm, has now been offered a permanent food and beverage assistant role following outstanding feedback from guests and colleagues.

He told the Standard: “I am very proud to work at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel as part of the breakfast team in the Homage restaurant.

“I love my work and strive to achieve the highest standards of customer service.

“My favourite moments are when I get good feedback from customers as I do my best to provide the best service.

“I like meeting people from all over the world when they are staying here.

“I have learnt a lot from the great training I have had from my colleagues, who are all great and very supportive.

“I love my job and hope to work here for many years to come.”

Sam Innes says Down’s Syndrome hasn’t held him back (Hilton)
Sam Innes says Down’s Syndrome hasn’t held him back (Hilton)

Mr Innes arrives at the hotel at 7.30am each morning with his shift starting at 8am.

In addition to customer service, his training teaches him to read body language, which helps Mr Innes gauge how to best interact with guests, whether that involves a friendly chat or a lighter touch.

Hilton research show nine in 10 adults with learning disabilities in the UK struggle to find employment.

The majority said a fear of being judged at the interview stage put them off applying altogether.

Once in a role, 62 per cent say they find it difficult to keep their job, primarily because companies are not equipped to support those with a learning disability.

The WorkFit programme - run by the Down’s Syndrome Association - helps people get jobs in the hospitality industry.

Hilton has created 26 placement opportunities and currently employs 18 individuals across its British hotels.