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Training programme to hone skills of hospitality sector workers

Annab says 17 five-star hotels to open in Jordan over coming few years, offering 8,500 new jobs

By Dana Al Emam - Dec 05,2016 - Last updated at Dec 05,2016

AMMAN — A new training programme launched Monday for workers in the hospitality industry will hone their skills and enhance quality of services provided in existing hotels and investments on the way, sector leaders said.

The “Pathways to Professionalism” is a private sector led programme that seeks to enhance the qualifications of young workers in the hospitality industry through on-the-job training in 21 hotels.

Tourism Minister Lina Annab said investing in human resources drives multimillion-dinar investments, adding that the 17 new five-star hotels that will open in Jordan over the coming few years will provide 4,200 rooms and offer 8,500 new jobs.

She added that developing the skills of those who have recently entered the industry, in addition to some 10,000 hospitality students who will graduate over the upcoming four years, is necessary to provide quality services at the 21 hotels taking part in this programme.

“This programme has the potential to train at least 500 hospitality workers each year,” Annab said.

The project promotes “a new and progressive approach” to professional training for semi-skilled (Level 2) and skilled (Level 3) professional employees in the workplace, according to organisers.

The training is enhanced by a structured programme of national standards, modern learning materials, on the job training through approved trainers and a system of assessment.

The professional training scheme is supported by the USAID’s Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism project, and is carried out in partnership with the Tourism Ministry and the Vocational Training Corporation, which will be responsible for accreditation, qualification systems and the certification of successful trainees.

Philip Papadopoulos, the chairperson of Pathways advisory committee, said Jordan is the first country in the Middle East to apply this project, adding that all workers in the field, including waiters and cooks, are expected to obtain a national accreditation that certifies acquiring the needed skills down the way in 2017.

USAID Jordan Mission Director Jim Barnhart said over 200 workers in the field have registered for the training, expecting some 1,000 trainees over the coming few years.

He highlighted the training as having the potential to shift the way hospitality workers obtain specialised qualifications and how hotels hire staff.

The tourism sector provides around 50,000 direct jobs and some 150,000 indirect ones, Annab said, citing a 3 per cent growth in the number of direct jobs in the tourism sector between 2015 and 2016, mainly in restaurants.

Yet, women comprise only 10 per cent of the workforce in tourism, a number that is much lower than international rates, which reach up to 45 per cent, she added.

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