Laura Williams works at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth and shares her employment success story.
Laura thumbnail.

By Laura Williams, WA

Hi, I’m Laura.

I am currently employed at the Pan Pacific Perth Hotel

I work in the food and beverage area.

This hotel has employed me over a year ago.  

I am beginning a traineeship in January, which will allow me to be gain a Certificate II in Workplace Skills. 

I do a variety of roles, which include delivering breakfast meals (in room dining), floor checks and other duties required in the cafe.

One of the best parts of the job is serving customers and wishing them good morning when delivering their meals.  

The hardest part of my job is when I sometimes get negative feedback because I didn’t do a job that well.

I know that I need to hear this, but it makes me feel like I have let the team down, and to try and do better next time.

The staff I work with are very supportive and even though sometimes I don’t do the job perfectly, they always are willing to give me another chance.

The best part about having a job is how it gives me independence, confidence and a sense of self-worth.

It is important for people with Down syndrome to have a job because we are just like everybody else, but we have a few learning issues.

We want a chance to become a valued member of the community and by having a job in open employment we also get the chance to be independent, make friends and have a sense of belonging. 

We also become visible role models for others with Down syndrome and give hope to their parents.

Inclusion is important not just for people who have Down syndrome but for all people who have disabilities.

We want to be seen the same as everybody else so when we go out in public we don’t get stared at and laughed at.  

We want the same opportunities and the only way we will get this in by changing the public perception of what disability is. 

Inclusion is one way of doing this, but only if it is real and not an insincere approach.

I like how working in a team makes me feel that I am valued and how it gives me a sense of pride. 

My team members are very supportive, and they go out of their way to help me. 

It enables me to form a real relationship with them. And it also enables my team members to learn that people with a disability are just the same as they are.  

I needed to learn many different skills, but some of the most important ones, including to have a pleasant attitude, be professional at all times to greet everyone with a smile. 

And that it is important to be take ownership of things when they go wrong.

I would like to tell people with Down syndrome that there will be many knock backs, but you just have to keep going until someone sees beyond your disability and gives you the opportunity to show what you can do.  

And even though it can be very difficult but when you get that first pay it will make you have a sense of pride and let you believe in yourself.  

You should never have low expectations of yourself – it may take longer to achieve things but eventually you will.   

And it doesn’t matter how many steps the staircase has, the important thing is that you will eventually get to the top.

Employers should take a chance in employing people with Down syndrome. They will be reliable, loyal and take pride in their work.  

They may take longer to learn the job, but they will and can learn.  

Your business may grow by employing some one with Down syndrome, as customers may support you more, knowing that you are employing someone with Down syndrome.  

And that the best way to get to know how to deal with someone with a disability is to employ someone who has one.

It is important to be included because it gives you a sense of belonging, a sense of self-worth and the confidence that you are valued and that you are not alone.  

Many people with disabilities feel isolated and are depressed but by including them in open employment it will change the perception of disability and enable them to take their place in the world alongside everyone else.

When people look at me and they see me as Laura, not as Down syndrome Laura, it gives me a sense of pride.

I am very lucky that through my employment opportunity with Pan Pacific Perth that I have grown both in a professional and a private capacity.  

I know that I will be okay and that I have a future that many people without a disability take for granted.

This article has been written with support.

See Laura in action in Down Syndrome WA‘s video here.


  1. Matisse Davis

    Well done Laura. I bet your better than me at cooking and making drinks and things. You are the best.

  2. Rob Weeden

    Many people are incredibly proud of Laura. She achieves much and guarantees to bring a smile and a little sunshine in all of her interactions. She’s a true hotelier.


Leave a Reply