Brits Abroad – Chrissy Veltman
Chrissy Veltman combines two jobs in Ontario, Canada. She tells Janet Harmer about working during the summer at the Delta Grandview Resort and at Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area in the winter
Describe your role at Delta Grandview Resort From May to October I'm a guest service agent at the resort, which is situated on Fairy Lake, just outside Huntsville, about two hours north of Toronto. It is a condo-style resort with 115 bedrooms and four restaurants. My role is incredibly varied. As well as checking guests in and out, manning the switchboard, and making room and dining reservations, I act as concierge and handle all guest enquiries. I also track the stays of Delta Privilege Members and compile a daily newsletter for the resort.
How did you get the job? I sent my CV to the resort before the start of the summer season as I knew that they would be hiring seasonal staff. I was interviewed, had a call-back interview and the rest is history. Canadian employers are very open to hiring British staff in the hospitality industry as, for one, they love the accent! I get complimented daily on my accent by both guests and colleagues.
What about your winter job at Hidden Valley Highlands? My position here is as a customer service agent, from mid-December to the end of March. The benefits of having two separate jobs is that you don't get stale, you look forward to returning to each job after having had a break in between.
Temperatures in the winter can drop to minus 40ºC, and the snow, which usually falls at the end of November and doesn't melt until April, can be up to 18 feet deep. Interacting with guests who are excited about the cold and snow encourages you to have a more positive approach to the long, harsh season. There is no doubt, though, that it is incredibly beautiful and looks like something on a Christmas card.
How did you end up in Canada? I moved here from Chorley, Lancashire, in 2005 and was fortunate enough to find employment immediately. My husband is Canadian, and as his spouse and being a permanent resident of Canada (a landed immigrant), I was able to apply for a social insurance number which allows me to work here. I do not need a working visa.
QHow have your previous roles helped you in your current job? Having worked with Princess Cruises for nine years in an entertainment/hospitality role and in the hotel industry in England for five years, I understand how hotels and restaurants operate, from both a reception and housekeeping point of view. Meeting many people of different nationalities, both guests and fellow colleagues, has helped me to communicate with guests at the hotel who may not be fluent in English.
Why did you choose to settle in Canada? My husband had spent five years living and working in England after we got married. My mother had passed away before my husband met her and sadly my father passed away while we were living nearby. Because my husband has a large family in Ontario it just seemed the right thing to do for us to move closer to them. So far, I have no regrets whatsoever.
What do you like and dislike about working in Canada? I love the people. They made such an impression when we started house-hunting as they have such a calm, laid back approach, which goes above and beyond in all aspects of customer service. I find them to be so happy and friendly and it has made for a very happy working environment. So far I have found nothing that I dislike about working in Canada.
What do you miss about the UK? My friends - I was sad to leave them, but I knew it was time for a great adventure and the next chapter in my life. The good part about it is that they now come and visit me here in Canada. We have had people come and visit from England every summer since we moved here. And guess where they stay - the Delta Grandview Resort!
CV: CHRISSY VELTMAN
1985-86 Entertainer, P&O Cruises
â- 1987-88 Conference and banqueting sales co-ordinator, Park Hall Hotel, Chorley, Lancashire
â- 1988-90 Senior tour guide, Granada Studios Tour, Manchester
â- 1990-99 Entertainments officer, Princess Cruises
â- 2000-05 Receptionist, Premier Inn
â- 2005-present Guest services agent, Delta Grandview Resort/Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada