Specialize, HRM students told

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


STUDENTS taking up hotel and restaurant management (HRM) are advised to take up specialized trainings to become more employable in the global hospitality industry.

“There is a misconception that if you’re taking HRM course you could already easily land a job in hotels and cruise ships, but in reality, companies now are looking for those who specialize on specific skill sets,” said Alvin Gonzales, sales and manager of Magsaysay Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (Mihca).

Gonzales advised students to take up specialized short courses after they graduate to further enhance their knowledge and develop their skills. He said this will give them comparative edge over other applicants.

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Mihca recently set up a training center in Cebu to meet the growing demand for hospitality workers, particularly for cruise ships.

Citing industry statistics, Gonzales said the cruise shipping industry or the passenger vessel capacity is projected to reach about 475,279 between 2013 to 2016 as the industry expands.

New vessels

Five new vessels with a total of 17,900 passenger capacity is scheduled for delivery this year; two new vessels with 6,861 passenger capacity by 2015; and one vessel with 3,250 capacity by 2016.

“These are just initial figures which we expect could still increase on the back of the growing global business activity. This increase in capacity will fuel demand for more workers,” said Gonzales.

On the other hand, some 10,212 hotel rooms are expected to be delivered between 2013-2016 in the country.

Given the promising growth, Mihca institute director Paolo Santino Guevara said it is necessary for both graduates and undergraduates to pursue specialized training such as in food and beverage, housekeeping and culinary.

“We need to improve further the technical skills to remain competitive,” he said.

Guevara noted the Philippines still remains the top exporter of seafarers in the world, next to India and China. He said the Filipinos are the world’s “favorite” workers for this industry because of the Filipinos’ known hospitality and culture as well as excellent communication skills.

Mihca is the training arm of the Magsaysay Group of Companies, a Filipino company that has been in the shipping industry for the past 60 years. The training school was established in 2007. It currently has two branches in Manila and one in Jakarta, Indonesia. It recently opened a branch in Cebu on F. Ramos St.

Gonzales said the company’s vision is to become the preferred hospitality and culinary institution in the country that would supply “world-class” Filipino professionals in the global hospitality industry.

He said they opted to open a branch in Cebu because of the province’s abundant talent pool. Currently there are 3,000 workers onboard Magsaysay’s managed vessels who are from Bohol and Cebu.

Training

Mihca Cebu branch manager Ira Marie Ortega said their advantage over other training centers is that their training goes beyond classroom lectures and on-the-job training.

She said Mihca provides opportunity for the graduates to land jobs internationally given the company’s strong network and global partners around the world.

“Mihca can endorse its graduates to manning companies after the trainings,” she said.

Guevara added that through their job placement system, they endorsed 80 percent of Mihca’s graduates to deluxe hotels and luxury cruise lines all over the world.

Students in Mihca enrolled in various training courses for job abroad in cruise ships, restaurants or hotels, while others want to start a business.

Courses offered include professional culinary arts, professional baking and pastry arts, food and beverage services and housekeeping services with training durations from three weeks up to seven months with fees ranging from P40,000 to P184,000. The curriculum emphasizes hand-on skills training with experienced instructors from the hospitality industry.

“Opportunities really abound if you have specialized skills sets,” said Guevara.

Salaries

Land-based waiters working locally can earn $350 per month while room attendants and cook can early $350 and $280 a month respectively.

Wages increase if they choose to work overseas. A waiter in the Middle East earns a monthly salary of $350; $850 in Asia; and $1,650 in Europe and North America. A room attendant, on the other hand, can earn $360 a month in the Middle East; $790 in Asia; and $1,300 in Europe and North America while a cook earns $410 in Middle East; $790 in Asia; and $1,400 in Europe and North America per month.

Meanwhile, waiters working in cruise ships can earn $2,500 inclusive of tips per month. A room attendant and cook earn $2,500 and $800 respectively.

In two years, Mihca will be opening three branches in the country, said Guevara.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2014.

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