A Friday Chat With Dana Sandrock, Employment and Progression Manager at Hotel School London3 December 2021
One of the partnerships we’re proudest of at Searcys is our collaboration with the Hotel School. This charitable organisation inspires, teaches, connects and supports people who’ve faced all sorts of hardships to get secure jobs in hospitality. This week we have an enlightening chat with Dana Sandrock, who works closely with Hotel School graduates to help settle them into the workplace.
Hi Dana, tell us about yourself and where you work
Hi my name is Dana, and I am the Employment & Progression Manager at Hotel School London. Before joining Hotel School, I worked in hospitality for about 7 years. I am very passionate about the hospitality industry, and I have always had an urge to share that passion with others. At Hotel School I have the chance to do exactly that; inspire and support people to start and sustain a career in the amazing world of hospitality.
What is the purpose of your organisation? What is the impact of your work?
Our main purpose is to empower people with various disadvantages by giving them the skills and confidence to start a career within the hospitality industry. We have seen over the years that gaining employment – and as a result finding a purpose – can change people’s lives completely. I’m particularly involved in working to support our graduates to sustain their employment and help them to progress forward in their careers.
How long have you worked with Searcys and what attracts you to us?
I have worked with Searcys for over two years now. Every person I’ve worked with within the organisation has always been keen to help and offer our graduates exciting opportunities. The team genuinely wants to make a difference to people’s lives by giving them a chance and supporting them to succeed in their role daily.
What is your aspiration for 2022 and beyond?
To support even more people with multiple disadvantages to work in hospitality. Especially to encourage employers to be open and flexible and train people who might not have much or any experience but have the right attitude.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I am supporting our most recent graduates into employment. Each one of them has the potential to not only get a job but also thrive in their role. Some have already been offered employment due to their work experience during our programme, which is wonderful to see.
Who is your inspiration?
Honestly, our Hotel School students and graduates. It is so inspiring to see their determination and positivity bounce back from very challenging times in their lives.
Tell us your three favourite things about the organisation you work at?
No day is the same at Hotel School. I love that we are always looking to improve and change what we do to provide even better training and support to our students and graduates. And of course, our overall mission to change people’s lives.
Did you have to adapt to life post-Covid. What changes or innovations have you introduced?
I would have to say working from home and not being able to connect with the team and our graduates face to face has been the biggest challenge since the pandemic. We had to adapt in so many different ways, and especially in the communication with our graduates. We started our own “Hotel School Online Community” YouTube channel during the first lockdown to connect and share different ways to improve their wellbeing during those uncertain times. We also noticed that not everyone was comfortable using technology, so we included an ICT session in our 10-week programme. Overall, in the last few months, we’ve included more information about how to look after your wellbeing especially, when our graduates enter the workplace.
As Searcys is preparing to celebrate its 175th Birthday, what words come to mind to describe Searcys for you? And what would be your birthday wish for our Searcys colleagues?
Dynamic and genuine. I’d like to tell the whole team at Searcys to keep up your amazing work! We are so grateful to partner with you. Thank you for everything, and Happy 175th Birthday!