335 days ago
Chef, cleaner, security guard, porter, receptionist – all familiar roles for Sodexo people, yes? But how about adding flight simulator instructor to that list? It’s one of the unusual roles fulfilled by our team of 20 at the Emirates Aviation Experience in North Greenwich, London.
Although Tony spends his days inside the Aviation Experience’s flight simulator, don’t be surprised to see him pop up in a real cockpit sometime soon. Tony, 29, is training for his commercial license and claims he has the ideal role to help him earn his stripes. “I’ve wanted to be a pilot from an early age,” says Tony. “I bought a flight simulator for my computer at home and started to teach myself.” Now he is part way through a two-year training course with Wizz Air while also fulfilling his role as a senior simulator instructor. “It’s great to show the workings of a flight deck to our visitors, particularly the youngsters.”
Although he’s been with the team for just six months, Jaran has already made his mark by shining in this year’s national Barista of the Year competition. Jaran invented a Caribbean latte spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. “Before I joined the team here I had always worked in retail,” says Jaran, 25. “I fancied a change and this has certainly given me that – every day is completely different. And I’ve found a new enjoyment and talent in coffee making!”
Matthew came to the Emirates team having spent eight years working in bars and restaurants in central London. “It was enjoyable but I sometimes had to work 70 hours a week,” says Matthew. After coming in to Sodexo via an agency as a supervisor he’s now the deputy manager, aged just 27. “It’s been really challenging learning the back of office operations when I am used to being customer facing,’ he admits. But he’s proved a natural and now manages staff rotas, holiday cover, training and more, while always keeping one foot in a front-of-house role.
When the school holidays are in full swing, the on site café and shop is always buzzing. But 23-year-old Antigona says she much prefers it that way. “I do a 40 hour week and time goes really quickly,” she says. “You get to move around and do different things: tickets, out on the floor and working on the simulators. This job is great for learning new skills, and you get the chance to train other staff too. They’re like my second family here.”
Supervisor Madalina is one of only a few team members that’s been with the operation since day one. “I know this area very well as I was working in hospitality at the 2012 London Olympics,” she says. “At first I started part time as an exhibition assistant, just at weekends. But I loved it and applied to go full time as I saw it as a great opportunity to develop.” Although Madalina, 26, had no previous experience of being a manager, she seems to have a natural flair for it and quickly rose to supervisor. “I get along well with people, and I’m very proud of the way every one of the team plays their part in our success.”
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