Over 20 complete Universal’s Discover Hospitality training programme

Second batch of students has graduated from Universal Foundation’s Discover Hospitality programme.

At a ceremony held at Hotel Jen in capital Male Thursday afternoon, 22 students were presented with the certificate for successfully completing the course. Vice President Faisal Naseem awarded the certificates.

A fresh batch of 34 students were also given scholarship letters. These scholarships were awarded by Universal Enterprises Chairman Mohamed ‘MU’ Umar Maniku.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vice President Naseem shed light on the importance of human resources development and acknowledged the key contribution of institutions working towards improving human resources in the tourism sector. He shared his own experience in the tourism sector and imparted a vital message to people interested in working in hospitality, and advised that success comes to those that pay full attention to their work.

“Our country is in need of young skilled labour. I urge all students to make maximum use of this learning opportunity,” the vice president said.

Vice President Faisal also noted that his government will always try to develop human resources by exploring every possible opportunity in order to reach new heights of progress to this country. This administration is committed to enhancing the education sector, he added.

The Discover Hospitality programme was launched in 2017 as a joint initiative by Universal Foundation, the charity arm of one of the largest local conglomerates, Universal Enterprises, and privately run Villa College.

Successful completion of the six-month programme, which combines theory classes at Villa College and on the job training at one of Universal’s nine resorts in the Maldives, awards a level three certificate. Graduates can either join the industry or continue to certificate level four, followed by a degree.

The Maldives’ tourism industry has greatly expanded over the past 40 years, becoming the country’s main economic activity and the biggest employer.

Over the past five years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers. Several international brands have entered into the market, increasing the number of resorts to 120. That number is set to increase as the government has announced the opening of some 20 new resorts by the end of this year.

Along with the new resort openings come the challenge of increasing demand from budget travellers who choose guesthouses over luxury resorts that the Maldives is known for. The guesthouse sector has rapidly expanded with over 450 guesthouses in operation today.

With the expansion comes the need to train locals for a range of new jobs that are expected to open up.

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