Serena launches hospitality project

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Serena launches hospitality projectAs part of its corporate capacity building strategy, Serena Hotels, in partnership with the German Investment Agency (DEG) has launched a project that will enhance skills and capacity building in the hospitality.

The two year technical assistance program was launched by the minister of Education, Albert Nsengiyumva, at Serena Hotels Kigali, on May 9, 2013. The minister was accompanied by the RDB Head of Tourism and Conversation Rica Rwigamba, and other Serena Hotels Africa delegates.

Charles Muia, the Country Manager of Serena Hotels-Kigali said that the move marks a significant step in the hotels internal talent and skills improvement agenda and Serena will provide training to at least five persons in each of the tourism and hospitality institutions in the country.

The program will also benefit Rwanda’s dynamic hospitality industry by identifying, mentoring and developing young people from selected hospitality institutions, and by working with students from hospitality colleges, the program will give opportunity to local talent development.

Selected students will by trained by Lobster Ink, s South African firm specializing in training hotel staff, and acquire English language skills courtesy of the British Council. The targeted institutions include: Rwanda Tourism University College, Akilah Institute for Women, New Hope Technical institute, Kigali Catering Center and Esther’s AID.

“Serena hotels places great importance in human resource development, and as a growing employer of young people in East Africa, we recognize the critical role of youths in Africa’s development. We are hopeful that this program will enable us to achieve this goal” S

The RDB Head of Tourism and Conversation, Rica Rwigamba said that skills development is very vital in the hospitality sector and this program will particularly benefit the Rwandan community and if the project is taken seriously by the beneficiaries, the tourism sector will grow to the desirable level.

While the State Minister of education, Albert Nsengiyumva stated that the management of the development is very crucial and it is not something to be neglected since the country is in dire need of capacity building and has relied on imported manpower.

“Can we rely on the other people each time? Definitely no. this is a development which am proud to be part of because it will bridge the gap in skills in the sector. The demand for skills is very crucial and we need to respond to the shortage by training now and in the future”

The project comes after a series of meetings to enhance the skills development and establishment of stakeholders in the sector.

The minister said that skills development needs shared efforts and it is not an issue of competition; and the government has taken the initiative of creating a working ground for stakeholders to expand the skills of the existing institutions in the hospitality sector.

The question is sustainability after the two years. How will Rwanda ensure that these skills are extended to the entire Rwandan community? The minister said that there is need to encourage such skills taught in schools at an early stage, so that the community develops a culture of customer care and service delivery.

The issue of customer care has been a topic of debate for most Rwandans today. Many believe that the level of service delivery is still very lower in standards, compared to other countries in the region, an issue that has cost the country.

Despite efforts of the government calling on the private sector to improve its services, the problem of poor customer care in Rwanda is believed to be costing the country over US$ 40 million annually, according to survey by World Economic Forum on the regional travel and tourism competitiveness.

“We will train until we get to the best standards. This is not going to stop here and we are not about to give up on the program of improving customer care in Rwanda” Muia said.





About the author

Based in New York, Patrick is a Wall Street Broker and Financial Pundit. He works as a Foreign Consultant for Rwanda Eye. His insights on the current economic trends and its impact on Rwanda and Africa, makes him an invaluable asset to Rwanda Eye.

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