Hospitality training programs ramp up to support Saudi youth
RIYADH: As Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector continues to grow, with the Kingdom planning to attract 100 million annual visitors and create one million jobs by 2030, building a resilient hospitality industry has become a priority.
The hospitality sector has risen to the challenge of ensuring that there is enough skilled labor to meet the ever-increasing demand by providing training programs for nationals to develop their skills at all career levels. The intention is to equip young Saudis with essential skills in the hospitality, tourism and travel sectors through programs supported by the best tourism training schools in the world.
Companies across the Kingdom are cultivating careers in hospitality through vocational training programs that emphasize resource efficiency and provide globally recognized qualifications.
In August, the Radisson Hotel Group launched a training program, A Brilliant Journey of Advanced Development Program, aimed at developing Saudi talent. The program targets supervisors and equips them with the expertise to take on leadership positions in its portfolio of 26 operational hotels.
“All the programs we have launched target Saudi employees. And it works well with Vision 2030 providing new jobs for Saudis,” RHG Saudi Arabia Basel managing director Talal told Arab News.
Talal added that 14 Saudis, more than half of whom are women, participate in the program at the supervisory and assistant management levels.
According to him, the group remains committed to upskilling Saudi nationals working in the hospitality sector as part of its expansion strategy in the Kingdom.
Talal said the initiative aligns with the Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to increase tourism’s contribution to the domestic product to 10%.
Among the group’s initiatives is the Concierge Navigation to Success program, which aims to provide Saudis working in the hospitality industry with the tools and resources they need to advance their careers and ultimately enrich the experience. customer.
Talal said five men and two women are currently enrolled in the concierge program.
The NTS program was launched in response to COVID-19, Talal said, adding, “Due to the lack of visitors and business during COVID-19, the Ministry of Tourism has advised all hotels to focus on concierge services”.
The programs will be offered twice a year, “The idea is that we repeat the program every six months, twice a year,” he informed.
To cover some basic elements or pillars, RHG partners with training programs like Atton or Maximus: “We have found that there are parts or gaps in the training program that require us to use third parties said Talal.
Through these programs, RHG improves employee retention and creates greater loyalty to the brand and the unit as a whole. “Higher retention or improved retention will only lead to better quality of service and lower costs because you don’t have employees to train them, you just work with existing employees,” he said. declared.
RHG employs more than 450 Saudi workers and another 200 are supervisors and managers, he added.
RHG also has a follow-up process for graduates on their progress, skills and how to improve, which is reflected in their annual performance reviews, Talal concluded.
Open the way
The Red Sea Development Co. is also leading the way in establishing undergraduate and postgraduate hospitality programs.
TRSDC, in partnership with Prince Mugrin University and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, is offering scholarships to high school graduates who wish to study international hotel management, Fadi Alaseri, associate educational director of TRSDC told Arab News.
“TRSDC’s transformative education programs are designed to develop the brightest minds in the fields of tourism and hospitality, equipping young Saudis with the necessary skills and competencies, enabling them to realize their full potential,” said Alaseri said.
Two tracks are available in the program: Fast Track, which is a four-year program with no preparatory year, and Full Track, which is a five-year program with a preparatory year, which allows students to start the major.
The TRSDC and its partners will provide suitable employment opportunities for graduates upon successful completion of the program, he added.
“The program aims to prepare leaders and specialists in international hotel management by offering a curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge and practical experiences based on Swiss and international hotel standards,” said Alaseri.
There were 2,653 scholarship applicants, including 1,883 men and 770 women. However, only 26 were selected, including 14 men and 12 women.
“Our talents will lead the revolutionary and regenerative luxury tourism destination in alignment with the needs of the Saudi labor market within our destination,” said Alaseri.
“TRSDC is reshaping educational opportunities by opening new doors and equipping young Saudi professionals with the skills and knowledge required to excel in the hospitality and tourism sectors,” he added.
Improving the skills of Saudi youth
To provide students with job opportunities at Hilton hotels in Saudi Arabia after graduation, the group entered into a partnership with Bunyan Training Academy in July 2022.
The training program, which is accredited by the Saudi Technical and Vocational Training Corporation and certified by EHL, is available to select young Saudi talent, said Fawaz Moumina, Hilton Group’s senior human resources manager for Saudi Arabia. , Egypt and the Levant at Arab News.
“This is the first time in Saudi Arabia that an international hotel provider such as Hilton has collaborated with EHL to offer this program,” he added.
Students will receive in-demand theoretical and practical instruction in various industry functions, Moumina said.
In addition, participants will be able to pursue bachelor’s degrees depending on the variety of professions in which they will be trained, including cooking, catering, reception and housekeeping, if they wish, he said. declared.
This program aims to identify more than 30 Saudi talents who wish to pursue a career in hospitality. “Following a meticulous selection process, Bunyan Training Academy carefully selected the candidates with input from Hilton,” Fawaz said.
In 2024, students who complete the program will receive a degree accredited by both Saudi TVTC and EHL, he said.
As part of its efforts to mobilize the national workforce, Moumina said the group has also established close ties with the King Khalid Foundation, the International Youth Federation, King Saud University and government departments and government organizations like the Saudi Tourism Authority.
Fawaz said Hilton has 2,400 team members in Saudi Arabia across 16 hotels, growing to 10,000 by 2030, half of whom will be Saudi nationals.