|A trainee harnesses his skills in a five-star hotel’s kitchen. YCI equips disadvantaged youth with the skills to work in the hospitality industry by placing them at 5-star hotels in Hà Nội. - Photo courtesy of REACH|
HÀ NỘI - Phạm Văn Cường, 23, can never forget the days when he toiled at low-paid work in the southern Bình Dương Province to earn money to help his mother.
This came to an end when he caught a lucky break. Through a youth-assistance centre, he was recruited for a free training course in hospitality that targeted disadvantaged youth across Việt Nam.
After six months of learning the ropes at a five-star hotel in Hà Nội, the Thanh Hóa Province native was introduced to a catering service on a five-star cruise in Hạ Long Bay.
“The training was practical and useful. I have longed to work in this field, but my family couldn’t afford it,” said Cường, whose father died when he was a child, leaving his mother to struggle to raise him and his brother.
“I will stick to this job for the rest of my life. Now, with a stable income, I can help and compensate for my mother’s hardship.”
Provided with accommodation, Cường and the other 27 impoverished trainees under the 2015-16 Youth Career Initiative (YCI) also participated in English language classes twice a week besides being trained in hospitality at five-star hotels across the capital city. YCI is run in partnership with local vocational training charity REACH, which anticipates over 90 per cent of graduates will find suitable employment within six months of graduating from the programme.
Cường arrived in Hà Nội today to share his experience with nearly 50 disadvantaged youths, the new trainees under the 2016-17 YCI programme, which will start next week.
This year’s students will train under the tutelage of senior staff and managers at the Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Hanoi Opera, Sheraton Hanoi, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake and the JW Marriott, with some 60 per cent of the programme delivered on-site as part of daily hotel operations.
This year’s YCI was the largest to take place in Việt Nam to date, with 48 students and five partner hotels, up from five students and one hotel when the programme was launched in 2011, according to REACH Executive Director Phạm Thị Thanh Tâm.
“The programme now has a strong track record of helping the youth from the most under-served groups in Việt Nam to gain a foothold in the global hospitality industry,” Tâm said.
The UK-based initiative has helped to deliver training to students from a variety of underprivileged backgrounds in Việt Nam, including victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and extreme poverty.
“Some of us grew up without parents, while others were raised by a single parent. Many of us are from ethnic minority groups. We couldn’t afford to go to university or a vocational training school, so we struggled to acquire useful skills to get a decent job,” said Trần Bích Thủy, 22, from the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
“We all have big dreams of getting a stable career, becoming successful and inspiring other disadvantaged youth.” - VNS