A career in hospitality can be a rewarding one, with the opportunity to help create unforgettable experiences for guests.
But for TFE Hotels Indigenous Liaison Officer (NT), Henri Peters, it’s about making a lifechanging impact on First Nations Australians by supporting them to build long-term careers.
Since taking up the position last year, Peters has been focused on recruiting new team members for Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront, Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront and Travelodge Resort Darwin.
“I support, mentor and train Indigenous team members,” he explained.
“We set goals and put a plan in place to achieve them through on-the-job, accredited, and online training.”
Born and raised in Darwin, Peters left school at 16 to earn a living as a kitchen hand before later progressing to a Head Chef position in a remote part of the Northern Territory.
Determined to pursue a career in tourism, Peters, with the help of Karen Sheldon Training, later became one of the very first participants in TFE Hotels’ Real Jobs Program (RJP) – a work-based training and employment initiative for Indigenous Australians.
The Kuku Yalanji man has risen through the ranks at TFE Hotels’ partly Indigenous-owned Adina-Vibe Darwin Waterfront hotel, starting in conferencing and events then moving to food and beverage, reception, maintenance crew and front desk.
“I remember thinking back then that I could make something of myself at TFE,” he said.
“I quickly progressed into an F&B role at Adina Darwin Waterfront’s Curve Bar and Restaurant, while still helping out with conferencing and events whenever needed,” he said. “I loved dipping my toes into all facets of the operation.”
Throughout the challenges of the pandemic, Peters worked as Night Manager and on reception between all three Darwin properties – Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront, Vibe Darwin Waterfront and Travelodge Resort Darwin – demonstrating his strong leadership qualities and dedication to the teams.
“Supporting my co-workers during the pandemic wasn’t work; it was just something I just did,” he said.
“They have all helped me along the way, so it made sense that I helped them in return. We’re all in it together here at TFE… and especially up in the NT.”
During his time at TFE, Peters found himself mentoring new RJP candidates and other First Nations team members.
“I’ve always been passionate about helping others by providing guidance and advice, so I was excited to see TFE support Indigenous and First Nations People and give them opportunities to learn and grow and to be part of that journey,” he said.
“With the Indigenous Liaison Officer role, I saw a chance to make a difference within the community, and to give those who were willing the same opportunities I had been given.”
This NAIDOC week, Peters wants to share his story with fellow First Nations Australians and let them know that there are supports to help them build a career in this industry.
“It’s a reminder to reflect not only my own achievements but the achievements of my colleagues in their career and in life,” he said.
“I want to educate local Indigenous communities on the career pathways, programs, and opportunities available here at TFE Hotels. I want people to know that my story can be their beginning, and that I’ll be here to guide and to help them succeed.”