New opportunity for displaced tourism workers
More than 55 hospitality workers who lost their jobs or income during the pandemic-led crash have been given a new lease on professional life after graduating from a scholarship programme designed to boost their skills.
Among those enrolled in the retraining initiative were displaced workers, not only those who had lost their jobs entirely, but those who were now working reduced hours as a result of the downturn.
The Samoa Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer, Faamatuainu Lenata’i Suifua, commended the graduating students’ commitment to upping their skills in hospitality.
The students from across the tourism industry were among those who recently graduated from the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) with a Certificate II in Tourism and Hospitality.
The students were the recipients of scholarships funded through Phase II of the Government Stimulus Package, rolled out in response to the pandemic’s economic effects, with the aim of increasing tourism workers’ skillsets.
Faamatuainu said that the programme has been staged in the spirit that the Government believes a key component of capitalising on a rebooted tourism market will be boosting the skill levels of its workforce.
The Authority held a prize-giving ceremony at its head office following the official graduation ceremony to recognise the top students from each of the programme’s fields.
Those students included, for cookery – Victorya Lautolo Va’atiuola; food and beverage – Matena Elisara; tour guiding – Silia Visesio; front office – Yvonne Poasa; and the overall top student is Victorya Lautolo Va’atiuola.
A total of 58 students who earned formal qualifications specialising in cookery, food and beverage, tour guiding and front office and accommodation services, after having successfully completed the prescribed courses.
A further seven students will graduate in December, taking the total number of certificate holders to 65.
Training opportunities under the Stimulus Package have been implemented in partnership with National University of Samoa and the Australia-Pacific Training Coalition (A.P.T.C.). The accredited qualification will give the students an opportunity to upgrade their credentials in the future.
Earlier this year, the S.T.A. continued to implement the $1 million Phase II of the Government Stimulus Package for Tourism and Hospitality, in conducting a capacity building and development programme through training courses.
The Authority has been working in partnership with the N.U.S.; the Samoa Business Hub; and the A.P.T.C. as service providers to oversee the rollout of the courses which are recognised in Australia and locally for boosting students’ employment opportunities.
An estimated more than 700 displaced tourism industry employees have participated in the initiative with short and formal courses since it was first announced last September.
The short courses cover fields including information and communication technology, hospitality and business essentials, food, beverage and bar servicing skills, customer service and housekeeping.
Formal courses include Certificate IV in Leadership and Management, Certificate II in Cookery, Certificate II in Food and Beverage, Certificate II in Front Office and Accommodation Services, Certificate II in Tour Guiding.
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