Case Studies | April 12, 2024

Billy Bennett refuses to let Dyslexia define him as he excels on Travelodge Maintenance Aspire programme

Travelodge is proud to have a diverse and inclusive workplace, and fully embraces and respects colleagues’ differences, which the company believes should be celebrated. Travelodge is committed to supporting all its colleagues, including those from under-represented groups, so no matter what ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality or background, Travelodge wants all colleagues to feel that they can be their true self and belong at the company.

As part of its Belong agenda, Travelodge created a series of internal campaigns aimed at educating its workforce on neurodiversity, centred around colleagues sharing their own experiences of neurodivergence including ADHD, autism and dyslexia.

In the UK, there are almost 1.5 million people who are currently living with a learning disability – with almost one million over the age of 18.

Billy Bennett, a 53 year-old man, who is married with three children and three grandchildren, first found out he was dyslexic at the age of 18 when he was working as a Postman. 

Growing up, Billy always found his dyslexia to be a challenge, particularly when it came to academic learnings such as reading or writing, however over time he has been able to adapt the way he works and goes about his day to day tasks to ensure his dyslexia doesn’t prevent him from achieving his goals.

Billy is now employed by Travelodge, the UK’s first budget hotel chain with nearly 600 hotels across the UK, Ireland and Spain, and is a Lead Maintenance Engineer. Travelodge’s in-house maintenance functions is one of the largest of its kind in the UK and employs over 210 maintenance engineers.

When did you first join Travelodge?

I first started working with Travelodge four years ago as an Engineer, after deciding to leave the world of self-employment and join corporate life. 

I have over 30 years of experience in the maintenance industry and so when I saw a position available at Travelodge, it was an obvious choice.

Has your learning disability ever affected your working career?

Growing up with dyslexia, I was always told in school and other workplaces that “I wasn’t smart enough” and was always put down particularly in my work life. However, since joining Travelodge, I have felt nothing but welcomed and encouraged. All of my colleagues have been incredibly supportive and the Senior Management Team has made me feel like we are all the same, that all of our jobs make Travelodge brilliant. My dyslexia has never been a problem since joining Travelodge.

What made you want to join the Travelodge Maintenance Aspire Programme?

It was really with the backing of my management team that I joined the Travelodge Maintenance Aspire Programme. Initially, I felt quite apprehensive about applying but decided to give it a go – I was able to enhance my skills further and work up into my current position as Lead Engineer. I joined the course in April 2023, which lasted a total of four months.

Aspire is Travelodge’s in-house management development programme which has helped thousands of colleagues to progress their career from an entry level position into management. Travelodge runs two aspire programmes, one which is designed specifically for operational colleagues, and another programme that has launched; the Travelodge Maintenance Aspire programme which is designed to help engineers who want to progress and work their way  into supervisor roles. Since the launch of the Maintenance Aspire Programme in 2021, like me, 40 individuals have joined and worked their way into more senior positions. I would recommend the Aspire programme to any of my colleagues at Travelodge who have the opportunity to apply. 

What do you enjoy most about your career?

Struggling with Dyslexia like I do, a typical 9-5 job where I would be required to sit at a laptop all day wouldn’t be suitable for me – I know it isn’t where my individual skill set would lie. Maintenance is great for me, from fixing a broken tap, fitting a new bed or giving the corridors a new lick of fresh paint – the job remains active. No two days are the same and there are constantly things to do that require more physical skills, which I love.

Travelodge is currently hiring for a number of positions nationally and regionally in its in-house maintenance team and to find out more about the team, the job or the skills required, click here. If you are also interested in the Travelodge Aspire Programme and want to learn more you can do so at 

What is your Hometown?

I was born in a small town called Clevedon in North Somerset. It’s just up the road from Weston-super-Mare, where there is a Victorian pier with views of Somerset and Wales. 

I now live just down the road in Locking Parklands, right on the edge of the Mendip Hills.

What was the self-employed work you did before Travelodge?

I was a bespoke furniture installer and kitchen fitter.  

What does your job involve on a day-to-day basis? What might a typical day look like? 

I’m an early riser, I always get up early to have a coffee and take my dog for a walk. Where I live, I get to see all sorts of wildlife. When I’m ready to start work, the first thing I do is check my emails to see any jobs that came in overnight – we use an app which is where we receive all our jobs and record our work. I take a look and see what’s on for that day, jump in the van and take off to work. Some days I could be fixing TV’s, taps, windows, etc and I work across a number of hotels. I work from my phone, and monitor jobs as they come in through the day. I then finish work and go home for the evening!

What do you love about your job?

I love seeing and interacting with different people every day. It’s always great to help my colleagues out with jobs across the hotels. I also like the time on my own while driving and enjoy listening to music as I move from job to job. 

Another great thing about my job is my colleagues – I know that I can call any of my team, past or present, at any time as well as people in more senior positions, who will always find time to answer any of my questions or give great advice. I also like to think I return this favour too. 

What are the challenges of your role?

Probably learning to do things on my phone but Travelodge uses a dedicated app that is easy to navigate and has helped me a lot. And making sure I don’t get side tracked on my duties, which can slow your whole day down.