Malaysia offers HRM students internship

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sajeeb Vidyasagaran, director for Marketing of Axsel Management International Sdn Bhd, and Sahak Ahmad, general manager of Mahtec, discuss the internship opportunities for Filipino hotel and restaurant management students in Malaysia. (Photo by Allan Cuizon of Sun.Star Cebu)


REPRESENTATIVES of the Malaysian Association of Hotels Training and Education Centre (Mahtec) encourage Cebu schools and universities to send their hotel and restaurant management (HRM) and hotel management students for internship in Malaysia.

Sahak Ahmad, general manager of Mahtec said they need at least 60 students for the initial batch of on-the-job-trainings (OJTs) students to be deployed in four- and five-star hotels in Malaysia for six months.

This is the first time the group explored the Philippines to search for potential workers for Malaysia’s growing hospitality industry.

Response

The group visited 10 colleges and universities. “The response (of the schools) was encouraging. They welcome the idea of having internship program in our country,” he said.

The internship program costs $2,000. Prior to deployment in the hotel operations, students will be trained for five days.

Sajeeb Vidyasagaran, director for Marketing of Axsel Management International Sdn Bhd, said students enrolled in the program will not only be given the chance to hone their skills and expand their knowledge but also earn as they get allowance and additional income when they render overtime work.

“They can roughly earn $300 to $500 a month,” he said. He said students will also get the chance to be hired by the hotel after the internship.

Other countries

“But this does not mean they will be based only in Malaysia because most of our four and five star hotels are international chains so they have opportunities to work in other countries where these hotels have presence,” said Vidyasagaran.

He said they want to hire Filipino OJTs because of their English skills and good training.

According to Ahmad, 10 percent of students enrolled under HRM and hotel management courses here go to the United States for internship while the rest stay in the country.

“Our advantage is the proximity. Malaysia is only a four-hour ride from Cebu, plus our tourism is booming, we are number 10 in the world,” said Vidyasagaran.

Malaysia’s tourism arrivals is expected to reach 25 million this year. The country employs 40,000 foreign workers in the hospitality industry mostly from Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Ahmad said rank and file workers receive a take home pay of $500, a month excluding service tips. Those in the supervisory level receive a take home pay of $1,000.

By 2020, Malaysia targets 36 million arrivals with an expected $50 billion in tourism receipts. Between 2015 to 2020, the country will have 50 new hotels, mostly four- and five-star hotels with a minimum of 500 rooms each.

“Based on these figures, Malaysia alone will be needing more workers for our hospitality industry,” said Ahmad.

AEC preparation

Mahtec is owned and managed by the Malaysia Association of Hotels. It is the training arm of the hospitality industry that is committed to human resource development.

The organization has about 700 hotel members that account for 200,000 hotel rooms in Malaysia.

Vidyasagaran said this internship program is part of the Malaysia’s preparation for the Asean 2015 integration. He said the priority is to provide OJT opportunities to students in the hospitality industry within the Asean region.

The free movement of skilled labor expected under the integration. The Asean Economic Community would pave the way for the free flow of skilled labor across the 10-member Asean economies.

“It will now be a borderless region for our skilled employees, especially those working in the and tourism and hospitality industry,” he said. The group has introduced the internship program to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, India, Pakistan and Vietnam.

Asked if programs such as theirs could lead to possible “brain drain” for some countries like the Philippines, whose biggest export are its people, Vidyasagaran said the integration should be seen on a positive light.

“For one, programs like these enhance student exposure. At the end of the day, the question should be how are you going to bring them back to your country so they could also help your industry? We need to entice our workers that have gone abroad to return,” he said. KOC

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 14, 2014.

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