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Semi-skilled Lankans for entry-level jobs in Gulf hotels

The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) launched a training programme to train rural youth to equip them with entry-level skills to secure employment in international-class hotels operating in the Gulf States.

The pilot programme was launched in Kandy, through the Kandy Satellite Campus of SLITHM, commencing in July 2007. The first batch of trainees comprising 120 youth have completed their institutional training, including an English langauge crash course for one month, and are currently undergoing their industrial training with reputed hotels in Kandy.

The second batch comprising 160 youth completed the institutional training last month and is being placed in hotels for their industrial training currently.

One of the leading private sector hotel management companies in the country Aitken Spence Hotel Management Services Ltd


Deputy Minister of Tourism, Faizer Musthapha with Hotellier Prasanna Jayawardane
Pic by Saliya Rupasinghe

 has joined the scheme and is currently training youth for the same purpose at its newly established training centre at Ahungalla.

A reputed private sector training institute engaged in training activities for the hospitality industry needs. Win-Stone School of Culinary Art, Nugegoda, too has joined the scheme and has already trained 50 youth for the purpose.

The project is the ‘brain-child’ of Deputy Minister of Tourism, Faizer Musthapha, who recognised the massive opportunity available for a vast number of skilled staff in hotels operated in Gulf States, after his visit to the “Arabian Travel mart” this year. There is a demand in existing hotels aand in the new hotel projects that are coming up in the region, for around 75,000 skill-level staff.

Most South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are competing to get a share of this golden opportunity. Deputy Minister said that there is a growing demand for female employees and their intake is very low.

He said that after training for five months they would be employed for salaries starting at US $ 100. “This is an attraction other industries cannot achieve” he said.

Plans are underway to take the programme to other parts of the island, facilitated through Regional Campuses of the SLITHM situated at Anuradhapura, Bandarawela and Matara commencing from year 2008. The target is to place a minimum of 2,000 skilled staff in Gulf hotels by the end of year 2008.

It is also hoped this will give a considerable boost to remittances of foreign income earnings by Sri Lankan staff employed in the Middle East.

The earning capacity of hotel staff is much higher compared with the majority of Sri Lankans presently working inthe Middle east in categories such as construction and road workers and domestic aides, which is the largest category.

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