The global demand for workers in the hospitality industry is growing, but so is the competition among various nationalities for the available jobs in that market. It is therefore very important for Filipino hospitality workers applying for overseas job placement to be equipped with skills that meet international standards.
[related|post]This is where the Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts (MIHCA) of the Magsaysay Group of Companies comes in. The institute, which was established only last January, trains Filipino workers to make them competitive in providing hospitality services abroad particularly in the areas of lodging, meals, and drinks. And the worldwide hospitality services industry is by no means a small job market. According to the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, the industry comprises some 300,000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, employing 60 million people and contributing $950 billion annually to the global economy.
So far, the MIHCA has already trained a batch of 74 workers for foreign job placements, and all of the trainees are now either awaiting job placement or doing practicum work. Currently, the institute is training a second batch of 60 prospective hospitality workers for overseas placement.
FILLING LATENT DEMAND
Jay Fernando, the MIHCA director, says that training hospitality workers to be globally competitive is a more efficient way of filling the demand for foreign job placements rather than by just hiring workers already employed in the domestic hotel and restaurant industry.
"There has traditionally been a gap between what the educational system provides and what the industry needs,” Fernando says. “In an attempt to bridge that gap, the Magsaysay Group of Companies established this institute. We admit people with the personalities, attitudes, and qualifications that we believe would make them successful in the hospitality industry, then we train them in accordance with industry needs."
Fernando cites the work of a bartender as an example. How many cocktails should he know, how fast should he be able to prepare these cocktails, and how extensive should be his knowledge of spirits, liquors, and wines? Once the industry is able to establish the parameters for the job, he says, the MIHCA develops a training program according to those standards.
He says Filipino workers have always been in demand for overseas jobs because they are very hardworking when they are abroad. “The Filipino’s twin qualities of adaptability and hospitality have always been there," he says. “What’s lacking is the skill part because in the Philippines, we don’t see any institution or any organization that actually prepares people to meet global standards. People are trained only to meet our local standards, but the global standards happen to be much, much higher than ours."
A GOOD TRACK RECORD
The Magsaysay Group of Companies has been providing people for the hospitality industry for about 30 years now, so Fernando is confident that the company knows very well what it is doing.
"We know the standards and we know the system, so we know what’s needed,” he says. “We also know the operating environment in which the employees are required to operate, and we\\\'ve identified the kind of skills they are required to have as well as the level of efficiency, the level of sanitation, and the overall system being used abroad."