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PHUKET: The hospitality industry in Thailand is struggling. Not because there aren’t enough guests, quite the opposite – the number of rooms on the island is multiplying to accommodate year-on-year increases in the number of tourist arrivals. The problem is the lack of skilled workers, explains Patteera Maneesri, Trisara Group director of human resources and a Trisara Academy director.

“We are struggling to get skilled personnel in the hospitality industry. The number of hotels is growing very quickly and each of them requires a lot of qualified staff,” says Patteera. “We need to face the truth and take it as a challenge.”

To do just that, Trisara Academy, a training facility operated by Montara Hospitality Group, will launch a three-month internship program beginning on March 2. The program consists of two separate courses: food and beverage operations and culinary preparation.

“We launched the Trisara Academy in July 2014 with a ‘Career Development Program’ for our internal managers. Having developed the program, we are now ready to launch it to the public,” says Patteera.

“We expect around 10 students in each class. We will screen the candidates based on attitude,
after personal interviews.”

The Academy will accept Thai applicants between 18 and 28 years old, holding a college degree and with average English skills.

“However, the key is the attitude, the service mind. We believe we can help the person with the right attitude grow,” says Patteera.

Once they complete the internship, the young professionals will receive support from Trisara in finding employment. “I will be contacting luxury hotels personally and presenting our candidates. Some of them will be hired by Trisara as well,” says Patteera, who believes that the Trisara Academy internship is perfect for young people who want to enter the hospitality industry and are looking for the right place to start or are seeking a career change.

Each internship program costs 38,400 baht, which includes uniforms, daily meals and course materials. While most candidates will have to cover the costs of the training themselves, Trisara will offer sponsorship to one student per class.

“We are working with Prince of Songkla University and Rajabhat University, to find the right candidates to enter our internship,” explains Patteera.

The course curriculum focuses on practical skills, comprising up to 90 per cent of the program. The students will learn cooking skills, as well as marketing, product management and other elements of culinary preparation.

With three rounds of the internship planned for this year, 60 new, skilled hospitality professionals are expected to enter the market through the doors of Trisara Academy by the end of 2015.

“We want to support the market with this career development program,” says Patteera who also points to Asean integration as one more reason for increasing efforts in education and professional development. “We need to develop and improve the skills of our staff to reach the Asean standard. Our initial goal is to reach Thailand’s luxury resort service standards,” she explains.

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— Maciek Klimowicz


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