As part of the Disabled Employment Week (Semaine Européenne pour l’Emploi des Personnes Handicapées, SEEPH), Disneyland Paris participates once again in DuoDay, allowing fifteen people with disabilities to discover a wide variety of professions within the food & beverage, merchandising, costuming and horticulture divisions alongside Cast Members who work in these lines of business.
Nalwenn – who took part in last year’s edition of DuoDay and is now employed under a permanent contract – and Stéphane – who helped her integrate into the company – share their experience in the interview below.
Nalwenn, can you tell us about your participation in last year’s edition of DuoDay? How did that job shadow day go?
Firstly, I was assisted by Nicolas Dantrou, a project leader in charge of Social Policies and Inclusion at Disneyland Paris. He helped me figure out which job would suit me best due to my disability during an interview. He suggested that I should participate in the DuoDay event, which was an opportunity for me to discover the various professions available in the Food & Beverage division, especially at Restaurant En Coulisse in Walt Disney Studios Park. It was an amazing opportunity for my career!
Did you feel that you were well assisted by the teams throughout the journey you experienced until you signed a permanent contract at Disneyland Paris?
Yes, I received great assistance. I knew who to contact when I had work-related questions.
Have you worked in a restaurant before?
No, I had my first-ever professional experience in a restaurant setting at Disneyland Paris. Before joining the company, I had planned to pursue a career with horses. To make this wish come true, I had enrolled in a program that gave me the opportunity to earn a diploma in the horse grooming field.
However, since I joined Disneyland Paris, I have been able to complete several training programs that have allowed me to grow professionally.
Why did you choose to join Food & Beverage teams at Disneyland Paris?
I decided to pursue my career in a restaurant setting to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps, meaning that my goal is to become one of the best Michelin-starred chefs! I am so proud to be taking this career path, and I know that he is also proud of me!
What does your daily job within the Au Chalet de la Marionnette restaurant entail?
At the Au Chalet de la Marionnette restaurant, I perform many different tasks.
For example, in the morning, my colleagues and I take care of storing food items, marinating chicken pieces, and preparing dishes for lunch.
Around noon, I assemble burgers and deliver them to guest-facing Cast Members who serve meals at the counter. To carry out this task successfully, I am required to communicate effectively with the teams and constantly ensure that there are enough ingredients in store, all the while following hygiene rules! I am also in charge of roasting chicken pieces and cooking French fries.
In the evening, I wash the dishes, cover the ingredients so they can be preserved, and I clean the kitchens once we are done serving meals.
Stéphane, how did your collaboration with Nalwenn go? Tell us about her first day in her job, your day-to-day collaboration, and the adjustments you had to make to accommodate her under the best possible conditions and offer an adapted work environment.
Following last year’s DuoDay event, Nalwenn signed a fixed-term contract to work at Restaurant En Coulisse – which is the biggest counter-service restaurant in Walt Disney Studios Park – for two weeks during the holiday season. Afterward, the team in charge of Social Policies introduced her to me. We also had a conversation that allowed me to find out about her expectations and let her know what we expected from her. Together, we decided to hire Nalwenn under a long-term contract at the Au Chalet de la Marionnette restaurant.
The top priority for me was to help her successfully integrate into our teams. I felt that she appreciated my approach and that she was highly motivated to work with us.
On her first day, I introduced her to the various positions that our Cast Members hold in kitchens and gave her advice on how to get organized to be productive at work. Nalwenn receives assistance every day as part of her job. We have a conversation at the end of each day during which she shares her expectations, she tells me how she feels, and I give her advice… Nalwenn integrated quickly and smoothly, as she is very motivated and strongly determined to excel.
During our very first conversation, I immediately understood how much she wanted to have the same career as her grandfather and that she would do anything to make him proud. She wants to show him that she is capable of achieving success in this professional field.
Why did you decide to get involved in assisting Nalwenn?
Firstly, because I supervise several Cast Members who participate in a work-study program. I enjoy conveying knowledge and helping people who are interested in pursuing a career in a restaurant setting.
Additionally, there are other Cast Members with disabilities who work at the Au Chalet de la Marionnette restaurant. I took Nalwenn’s arrival on my team as an opportunity to grow professionally and personally!
I love providing training to my employees, assisting them, and helping them develop their knowledge so they can bring out all the talent they have.
There’s a quote from Walt Disney that I always keep in mind – “the four Cs of making dreams come true: Curiosity, Courage, Consistency, Confidence.”
Stéphane, why is the DuoDay event is an important initiative?
To me, this is an excellent initiative! The various discussions we all have enable HR partners to better understand the skills and abilities of applicants with disabilities, and therefore to identify internship and employment opportunities.
What was the impact of Nalwenn’s arrival on the team?
Since Nalwenn joined our team, I have noticed that there has been more mutual help, communication, and support. Each of us wants her to succeed. Besides, she has already succeeded, as she has signed a permanent contract to work with us. I hope she will continue to blossom, and I am mentoring her so she can take the Ducasse training course that is delivered at Disneyland Paris. Thus, someday she will be able to join a table-service restaurant and make her dream of pursuing the same career as her grandfather come true. Her success will be our success!