Not easy to bridge the skill gap

The requirement that a person working in hospitality industry possess excellent skills in both applying professional knowlege and mastering foreign language is not usually met in tourism human resource in Vietnam.

At the press conference of the program "Vietnam Hoteliers – Developing high-quality human resource system for Vietnam’s tourism &  hospitality industry for the period 2015-2020"on June 9th, several solutions and proposals were made. However, it is always easier to talk than to really do.

Collaboration in education

It is forecasted that, by 2020, tourism in Vietnam will have been growing at a continuously positive rate, and have started to change the focus into quality rather than quantity. This means that Vietnam tourism will concentrate on luxury products and services to satisfy the needs of high-end users group who often go on a long holiday. According to calculations, Vietnam will need more than 2.1 million personnel for tourism in 2015 and nearly 3 million in 2020. Current situation in Vietnam can not guarantee those big numbers, as well as can not assure the quality required, therefore, we need help from resources overseas, specifically, education and training collaboration.

Vietnam Hospitality Network (VHN), a non-profit organization working towards a sustainable future of tourism industry in Vietnam, was established to turn ideas into practice. Mr. Minh Chu – Founder of the VHN told us about 3 main contents: Effectively use of the experts’ network formed by domestic and foreign experts to exchange ideas, carry out discussions and researches; Connect students with internship/employment opportunities by signing agreements with corporations, organizations; Enhance the interaction among industry senior managers to hone management skills and drive businesses cooperation. VHN also promises to offer free online marketing training to 1000 workers in the industry. According to Mr. Ha Van Sieu, Head of Institute for Tourism Development Research, VHN is the solution of updating trends and knowledge for the human resource we’re looking for to fill the skill gap.

Morning at school, afternoon at work

To have qualified associates working in 4-star to 5-star hotels and resorts, one of the proposed solutions was to change education strategy and students’ internship time. Ms. Phung Thanh Yen – HR director of Movenpick hotel told us: “We need smart students with passion and foreign language fluency. We recommend that students spend at least 3 months doing internship, so that they have enough time to practice and to understand the whole cycle of the business operation.” 

Moreover, universities should allow flexible school timetable in order for students to work part-time. Students’ spending more time learning by working and having hands on experience than by staying in classes, taking notes is very popular in foreign countries such as Switzerland, Singapore, France… Communication and language skills are also improved this way. Approved of this idea, Mr. Dong Xuan Dam – Dean of Hospitality faculty, National Economics University said that they were negotiating with 4 big hotels to collaborate, but a problem arose that after 8 hours working, students are too exhausted to study. The negotiation then went on to reduce the working time for classes and relaxation but still ensure effectiveness of the working-learning model. Mr.Kai Mercus Schroter – General Manager of HTM Consultancy company, when talking about the problem, highlighted the importance of communication between Ministry of Education and Training and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to make some appropriate changes in internship time. Policy makers should also have real insight into the problem particularly, and into tourism industry in general.

Source: Trúc Anh – 

Translator: Thuy Duong

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