Bubbly, dedicated and a great sense of humour; these are just a few reasons that Napha Beer, a Room Attendant at the Future Inn in Plymouth, has recently been nominated as their ‘Employee of the Month’. Yet this is Napha’s first paid job in over seven years.
Napha has a learning disability and is profoundly deaf. She is supported by local Social Enterprise and PSEN member, Pluss, who have helped over 500 people with disabilities and health conditions into work across Plymouth.
Napha is unable to use the spoken word and communicates using gestures and pictures. She is from Thailand and doesn’t speak English; she uses an interpreter who communicates using both British and Thai Sign Language.
Yet despite these barriers, the determined Napha is a highly valued member of the team. She is hard-working and her rooms are immaculate.
Through her interpreter, Napha told us “I have not had paid work for years. I did do work experience in a Thai restaurant before but I wasn’t happy. The communication was very difficult. It was hard work and there was no pay.
“Then I had really good help from Pluss. It feels so good to be paid and I really like being sociable with the staff here.
“The bit I most enjoy about my job is making the beds; my beds are perfect. I really didn’t expect to be made ‘Employee of the Month’ but I was very happy when it happened.”
But it’s not only Napha who is pleased. Housekeeping Manager, Janet Chiswell, couldn’t be happier, “Napha came for a six week trial initially. Even in those early days on work experience, her work was to an excellent standard.
“As her six weeks were due to finish, we were looking to employ someone and Napha was the best and obvious choice. She had done so well and had really proved herself during her placement. We thought she would do even better as an employee – she was absolutely thrilled.
“I can’t stress how important it is for a hotel like Future Inn to get the presentation of the bedrooms right. It can take most people a very long time to get it right – Napha just has the ‘knack’. She is very proud of her work and extremely organised as well.
“As a person, Napha is great. She is always happy, smiling and continually making us laugh. It’s a hard job and Napha really helps keep team morale up. All colleagues and customers feel the same; even the guests tell me they think it is great that she is working here. As a result, Napha was recently awarded the ‘Employee of the Month’. I nominated Napha because of the standard of her work but people from other departments also nominated her.
“It has made a real difference to the business. She’s fun to be around and it’s great for other staff to see that we employ people from all backgrounds. Napha is actually really good at getting things across…although she does tease me about my attempts at sign language! It just wouldn’t be the same here without Napha around.”