Three new Samoa Qualifications and National Competency Standards for Tourism, Hospitality and Cookery have been launched by the Samoa Qualifications Authority (S.Q.A.).
The new development addresses the shortage of skilled workers and existing gaps in the tourism industry.
The newly developed SQs target everyone including those without qualifications wanting to pursue careers in Tourism and Hospitality.
The qualifications help to document existing knowledge and skills to further anyone’s career in the industry.
Held at the Millenia Hotel fale Friday afternoon, the launch was opened with a prayer by Reverend Dr. Siaosi Salesulu.
“Tourism formally is now recognized as a qualification and part of a moral compass incorporated into our Fa’asamoa. That’s what attracts people to Samoa.”
He noted the need to practice hospitality. “In Samoa when all the tourists come from Faleolo they see a multitude of churches, any sort of church, temples, chapels.
“Shouldn’t it go hand in hand, the Christian message, the gospel and being hospitable?
“With all these many churches there should also be an honest and emphasis on us being hospitable.
“This is a big deal for S.T.A and S.Q.A and commended them for foresight for a better Samoa,” said Reverend Salesulu. According to a press statement issued by S.Q.A. a total of 112 National Competency Standards which have been packaged into twelve SQs were developed based on feedback provided by various employers in the tourism sector with technical advice from the Sector Advisory Group (SAG).
The qualifications are now registered on the Samoa Qualifications Framework (SQF) after satisfying the requirements for registration.
The development of the SQs in Tourism and Hospitality started in 2013 with the support of the Samoa-Australia Partnership for Development under the TVET Support Programme coordinated by SQA.
Chairperson of the S.Q.A Board, Gatoloaifa'ana Tilianamua Afamasaga, officially launched the three National Competency Standards.
According to the statement, in 2013, the Tourism and Hospitality sector Needs Analysis Report identified the shortage of skilled workers ranging from management to labourer positions as barriers to the growth of the industry.
The report concluded with consultations with stakeholders that affirmed the need for skilled workers in the different areas of the industry.
Furthermore, “these have collectively indicated a need to focus on the major areas in hospitality, as well as management and tour guiding from the tourism side of the industry,” stated the report.
“However, for all these areas to provide efficient and better quality services it is essential for all employees of the industry (current and prospective) to possess the ability to be able to read, write, listen to, take notes and communicate fluently in English.”
The report also recommended that NCSs should be developed for the Tourism and Hospitality sector to cater for the skills needed by various stakeholders in order for the industry to progress and maintain its place as the highest export earner for Samoa.