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Progression with no limits: Shane’s Hospitality Journey

Here at IHG, we pride ourselves in our ability to open doors and kick-start careers. We don’t believe in standing still or hitting glass ceilings. Our company, and the industry we operate in, is all about growth, progression and unbounded possibilities for development. We caught up with Shane De Saram, just one of our many valued members of the IHG family. Shane embodies the idea that real hard work pays off. Here he lifts the lid on his hospitality journey so far and why this is only the beginning…

 

What was your first role in the hospitality industry?

I began my career in 2006, working at Holiday Inn Express Park Royal in London. My first job was as a Guest Service Assistant. It’s hard to believe I’ve been in the business for 12 years now! Time really does fly…

Talk us through your journey of progression and how it all started…

I was initially only working at the hotel part time - around 20 hours a week. As a Guest Service Assistant I was able to learn so much, even though I wasn’t part of the full-time staff. I tried my hand at bar, restaurant and even accounting work. I wanted to have a go at everything! A little later on I also completed my degree and so was able to work full time at the hotel. That was when I received a promotion to Senior Guest Assistant – a huge leap for me and something I was really proud of.

How did you continue to nurture your growth and development?

I went back to university to do a masters, so began to reduce my hours again to fit around my studies. I did well in my degree and was awarded a special honour for my masters, which IHG happened to sponsor. This gave me a foot in the door at the company… The award was for International Student of the Year, as I’m originally from Sri Lanka. After this I was snapped up by their corporate hotel team, who offered me an unmissable internship opportunity. I didn’t think twice and accepted their offer straight away.

What was your next move?

After completing my internship with IHG I was then put forward for a Project Coordinator role for IHG - and I was successful!  I’ve learned an unbelievable amount here so far and been able to adapt to the company’s way of working, as well as having the freedom to put my own spin on the role and put forward my own ideas too. It’s been such a wonderfully rewarding experience and fulfilling job so far – and I’m constantly learning still to this day. 

So where are you now?

Fast forward and I’m proud to say that until very recently I held the role of Global Learning Systems Engineer and Project Coordinator at IHG.  This involved a lot of responsibility including dealing with important stakeholders and making some crucial decisions. Right now,  I have just embarked on a role for IHG in Shanghai as Learning Tech Manager at the head office there. It’s such an exciting opportunity and sometimes I can’t believe how far I’ve come. 

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in hospitality?

I’d encourage you to just to go for it. There are honestly no limits to what you can achieve within this industry and my story is definite proof of that. I’ve learned, travelled and surprised myself every step of way. This career is what you make of it, so if you’re going to jump on board then just make sure you take every opportunity that comes your way with both hands and remember to show a lot of enthusiasm.

 

So if you’re in search of a career that will never have you standing still or becoming stagnant – why not consider a role in hospitality? Here at IHG we’re always looking for the hardest workers and biggest dreamers, just like Shane. We want people who can take our company to the next level and constantly better themselves. After all, we love to see our people thrive too, not just our business. 

Check out our careers page today to see the exciting opportunities we have available!

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