PHUKET: Rajabhat University (PRU) in Phuket is accepting applications from students nationwide who have been affected by the flood crisis, to join its latest tourism “work-and-study” program.
The 4 R project is an extension of last year’s 3 R project and is organized in collaboration with the Phuket Office of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA).
The four Rs stand for Rajabhat, rong ram (hotels), rong rien (schools) and this year’s newest addition, Ratchakan (Royal Government).
The main objective of the project is to help alleviate economic hardships burdening students who have been affected by recent flooding. The project provides an opportunity for such students to gain training, education and experience in the hospitality field, while earning income and thus contributing to the economy.
In addition to providing students with practical experiences, the program aims to prepare students for the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community agreement set to take effect in 2015.
With an enrollment quota of 150 students, the program targets recent high school graduates, as well as 1st and 2nd year tourism and foreign language students currently enrolled at any Rajabhat University, nationwide.
Priority will be given to those who have been affected by the floods.
The Director of the PRU Student Affairs office, Associate Professor Nongyao Jaihor of the Faculty of Management Science, told the Phuket Gazette that out of 250 PTA member hotels, about 20 are participating in the 4 R project.
Included among these are the Phuket Merlin Hotel, Patong Resort, Peach Hill Hotel & Resort, Nap Patong, Merlin Beach Resort, Bundarika Villas & Suites, C & N Hotel Patong, Blue Ocean Resort and the Kata Palm Resort & Spa, among others.
“We want to avoid using big chain or five-star hotels who already have sufficient staffing. We prefer to support local businesses by helping to fill staffing shortages at smaller hotels,” Prof Nongyao said.
Students accepted into the program would undergo interviews with human resource representatives from the participating hotels and those who are accepted would start the program by undergoing a full month of all-expenses paid training starting in March next year, explained Prof Nongyao.
“Most of the positions are in regular hotel operations, such as housekeeping, reception and bellboy,” she said, adding that students would earn salaries between 6,000 to 9,000 baht a month plus service charges.
“After the initial training, students will sign a standard employment contract and will need to pass a three-month probation period. After that, if they still want to continue, they can enroll in weekend classes with PRU while continuing to work at their hotel during the weekdays,” she said.
“Not all students end up liking this field and some decide to just work, but not study, ” she said, noting that out of about 60 participants in last year’s 3 R program, 39 continued under the work-and-study model.
The program application deadline is November 26. Interested applicants can contact Prof Nongyao by calling 076-240223 or 081-538 8929.
— Steven Layne
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