The hospitality industry (tourism) has got yet another boost from Booking.Com and EyeOpenerWorks which targets skills development for the youth in the East African region.
As East Africa continues to remain the hub for tourists on the African continent from around the world, it is imperative that those in the field of tourism are equipped with the necessary skills to handle the visitors.
Throughout the continent, new hotels and lodges are being built every single day and more and more tourist activities take place, but research has indicated that the staff in these hotels still, don’t match the global standards acceptable to handle foreign visitors.
According to Melodi Tamarzians, the Mango Tree Creative Director, who is implementing for the Curriculum said the program is aimed at preparing students for internships and ultimately jobs in these local hotels, lodges, restaurants, and tourist sites.
“It is designed to prepare them for a future in the emerging world around them,” she told the press during the Ukarimu Hospitality launch held at the Design Hub, Mango Tree in Kampala on recently.
The curriculum is based on principles of active learning and is a combination of hard and soft skills to inspire young adults with little education and limited options.
Jean Charles de Bievre, the Global Commercial Excellence Manager at Booking.com said the unique course will help them to create skills to be a good employee, how to be a productive member of a team, how to identify a place for themselves in the industry, and how they can set personal goals to prepare for the future.
Ukarimu is the first open-source curriculum for tourism and hospitality training in Africa.
It is initiated by Mango Tree and EyeOpenerWorks in partnership with a number of grassroots hospitality training institutes, such as the Karamoja Tourism Training Academy and the Rwenzori Tourism Academy in Uganda, and other tourism training institutes in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.
Martijn Harlaar noted that Youth unemployment is a big problem all over Africa and yet, tourism is growing rapidly.
“Tourism can play an important role in providing meaningful jobs to local youth. Hotels and lodges are interested in employing local youth, but in our own investigation, we found that 9 out of 11 lodges state they are unhappy with the current skills of graduates from hospitality training institutes,” said Harlaar.
“Ukarimu is freely available for anyone with an interest in training young people in tourism and hospitality (hotels and lodges, NGOs, governments,” he said during the launch.
Ukarimu is an open-source curriculum for tourism and hospitality training, based on principles of active learning and promoting practical sessions.
It is the first of its kind in Africa. Through short, practical training, students are taught in technical skills, soft skills on customer care and professionalism, learn how to operate in the industry, and how to build a career.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO