It is education which contributes and builds human capital as an integral part of a country’s sustainable development. Education equips the person not only with knowledge but also the necessary skills for productive employment. However, the component of skill development which is more significant and relevant for employment is relatively at a nascent stage in India.
Very few opportunities for skill development are available for the out of school youth and existing workers, especially in the informal sector. Most of the existing skill development programmes are long term in nature. Considering their educational, social and economical background, it was concluded that the poor and less educated persons can not afford long term training programmes due to higher entry qualifications and opportunity cost. Consequently, a new framework for Skill Development for the informal sector has been evolved by the DGET (Directorate General of Employment and Training – Ministry of Labour and Employment)
under the Skill Development Mission to address the above mentioned problems. The training cell of the School of Tourism, Hospitality Services Management (SOTHSM) of Indira Gandhi
National Open University (IGNOU) at the Regional Centre Bhopal in collaboration with Tourism Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh is an initiative and way forward to develop and design vocational training programmes for human resource development in the tourism sector.
THE PREPARATORY STEPS
At the very basic level a detailed project report for training 320 students in housekeeping, front desk operations, food and beverage was prepared and submitted to Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation. Further to that the project was sanctioned
under the scheme of Capacity building for service providers. The project allowed a detailed picture of the expenditure on faculty fees, food, tool kit, uniform, study material and
administrative contingency. Nevertheless, the study material was prepared by a group of experts but was essentially approved by the Tourism department. The local needs of the hotel industry were ascertained and contents were tailored to meet its needs. This was critical to make the training employment oriented.
THE AREAS OF TRAINING
The course was visioned to customise it for a industry specifi c and job oriented programme. In consultation with the stakeholders the certifi cate courses were prepared in following three sectors: Certifi cate in Front Offi ce Operations (CFO) Certifi cate in Housekeeping Opera- tions (CHO) Certifi cate in Food & Beverage Service Operations (CFBO) Six books were developed at the Regional Centre level in self instruction mode by the subject experts drawn from various institutions on Understanding Tourism, Functional communicative skills and personnel grooming, Front offi ce operations Part-1, Front Offi ce operations Part-2 (Practical manual), House keeping operations Part-1, House keeping operations Part-2 (Practical manual ), Food
and beverage service operations Part-1, Food and beverage service operations Part-2 (Practical manual) and Destination Madhya Pradesh.
SPECIAL FEATURES OF PROJECT
The course was designed specifi cally to meet the end that includes 60 days of intensive class room sessions including practical training in core areas and 60 days of hotel internship. Facilities extended to the students include, a low fee structure Rs.1500/- per student, free study material and training kits, lunch and refreshments during class room training, two sets of uniforms (including shoes), stipend Rs.1000/- every month during hotel internship.
In the admission process the eligibility criteria is 10+2 in any stream with a minimum 45% marks or 10th with minimum fi ve year experience in hospitality sector and the batch size- 40 trainees/batch /programme. The Study Centres of the course decided are M P Institute of Hospiality Training (MPIHT),Bhopal, for CFO and Institute of Hotel Management (IHM)
Bhopal for CFBO and CHO.
CURRICULUM AND FACULTY
The faculty was identifi ed from the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), MPIHT, Frankfi nn Finishing School and managers of reputed hotels. SOTHSM fi nalised the time table, assigned classes to faculty and monitored the conducting of the contact sessions. Preparation of assignments, guiding students for project work. Log books for hotel training
maintained by trainees and verifi ed by manager/trainer. Evaluation at the end of the classes. Grading of students on the basis of their performance. Certifi cation by IGNOU R.C,
Bhopal. 80% attendance in classroom and internship was mandatory.
The fi rst batch started with 120 seats that commenced from August 2009 to January 2010. After the coursework 85 of the enrolled students had completed the course and there were 22 dropouts and the rest were dismissed because of short attendance. The admission of the
third batch has already begun and 97 students have registered too. According to Krishna Prasad Bhushal, Student, Food & Beverage Service, “I have been working with the hotel
industry for last 10 years as a steward. This course helped me in improving my skills in the service department. I have been promoted as captain in the hotel”. Saurabh Singh Bhadauriya, Student, Food & Beverage Service says, “This course is a multi-dimensional course which has not only given me technical knowledge about he hotel industry, but has also improved my personality and communicative abilities. It has enhanced my job prospect.” Further Pawan Tiwari, a student enrolled in front offi ce operations opines, “Nominal fee structure and best curriculum for a short term certifi cate programme has helped me to pursue a career in this sector. This is a programme that has helped us to enter the booming tourism sector.” The certifi cate programmes are fi nely designed for a single stream and gives us great opportunity in this industry. As this has been a booming sector in the service industry, we believe that diploma is a necessity for student who wants a complete knowledge about the hotel, shares Devshree Khare, a Student of the Font Offi ce Operations course Manisha Khale of the Housekeeping Operations course says, “Being a home keeper I
believe that this certifi cate course is as important for professional as well as home keeper, as it gives complete knowledge about maintaining the interiors of any property.” The industry was too positive about the course. B.M Namdeo, Chief General Manager, MPSTDC says, “All the courses are designed meticulously and conform to highest standards and latest trends.It will help us in training manpower and making our youth employable.” Followinghis quote Harminder Singh, Entrepreneur, Amer Group of Hotels says, “All the thirteen trainees who did their internship in my hotel Amer Palace have been employed by me. I look forward to the next batch. Thanks for helping me in my search for quality manpower.’
There are strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) inherent in the project that we have observed and now taking care of. The strengths that we have are adequate fi nancial assistance, freedom of developing study material according to felt needs and above allthe customised and industry specifi c vocational character of the course. But the weaknesses are also there. The fi rst and foremost comes on the the dependence on IHM for the infrastructure s something a lost of vision for us. We also face an obstacle of comingacross to much of the fresh candidates ho have no experience or poor knowledge base of the industry. But we annot deny the opportunities that we have in future. We are looking for asmuch collaboration with service providers on job offers to 80% of the trainees. We also foresee the threats as in terms of the dropout rate and underemployment. Besides after receiving the incentives of the course of the free toolkit, uniform, and study material the non-serious candidates stopped attending classes. We have chalked out some of the suggested corrective measures with reducing incentives and increase admission fee, student should be payingfor food served during contact classes, preference should be given to students with adequate experience in the hospitality sector, identifying new institutes as study centres to reduce dependence on IHM and focus on developing one year diploma programme in hotel operationsand management.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
IGNOU feels satisfi ed and encouraged by the overwhelming response the cell has received from the students and the stakeholders involved. Seeing to the necessity and demand, IGNOU would also like to include diploma and degree programmes in hospitality sector. Wehave started with the ground work of identifying experts in the fi eld and hopefully we shall be able to offer these programmes to these students by the end of the year.