10 June 2013
Hilton Worldwide has launched a training programme to help create sustainable careers in the industry for young South Africans, as part of its global Youth in Hospitality initiative.
It was launched last week in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Tourism, the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa and the International Youth Foundation.
Education is one of the key elements of the initiative, and Hilton Worldwide has partnered with various schools in the southern African region, where students will learn about university-level development and training programmes open to them as part of Hilton’s global network organisation.
It will enable learners to make informed career choices within the hospitality sector, according to Hilton Worldwide.
Hilton Worldwide has over 4 000 hotels around the world and is also focusing on expansion in the Middle East and Africa.
“With 59 company hotels expected to open in the Middle East and Africa within the next four years, it is estimated an extra 23 000 new team members of staff will be required for the new hotels,” the organisation said.
Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg has also partnered with hotel schools and is actively looking at being able to employ selected students as permanent employees.
The initiative involves collaboration with governments, the private sector and non-governmental organisations and was launched after the release of a white paper, “Creating opportunities for youth in hospitality”, by Hilton Worldwide and the International Youth Foundation in January.
“South Africa’s youth are our next generation of leaders, innovators, employees and world travellers and Hilton Worldwide is proud to be the first private company in the country to launch such an initiative to contribute to the growth and prosperity of the country’s future socio-economic success,” Hilton Worldwide’s vice president for Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, Jan van der Putten, said in a statement.
“The private sector bears the risk of tourism investment as well as the responsibility of satisfying tourists,” said Tourism Department spokesperson Trevor Bloem.
“It is encouraging to see key players within tourism such as the Hilton Hotel group being pro-active in enlightening the youth to the immense employment opportunities within the hospitality industry.
“In anticipation of the national tourism careers expo [from] 19 to 21 September in the Eastern Cape, the Department of Tourism would like to encourage stakeholders within the sector to partner with government in similar initiatives as we all strive to reduce the rate of unemployment among the youth and make tourism the career, business and employer of choice,” Bloem said.