Mentors committee discuss Seychellois participation in top managerial positions | 21 February 2020
The Mentors Committee, chaired by Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Didier Dogley and principal secretary in the department of tourism Anne Lafortune, met yesterday to discuss issues pertaining to human resource in the tourism industry, notably the participation of Seychellois hospitality graduates at top-level management within the sector.
The committee, comprising principal secretary for Employment Jules Baker, principal of the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) Flavien Joubert, general managers of different hotel establishments as well as representatives of the different cohorts of graduates from Shannon College, Ireland, seeks to ensure that the graduates have the maximum support of the government and private sectors so they can occupy top-management positions at large hotel establishments.
Minister Dogley made mention of the big human resource problem in Seychelles, noting the lack of skilled labour on the local labour market and the government’s efforts over the past decade towards a shift in the trend.
“The government, ten years ago took a decision to train our youths in hospitality and to produce graduates to return and occupy positions in the hotels, especially the large hotels. As you know, most hotels employed expatriate workers as there was a lack of qualified Seychellois for the positions. But the programme gives about twelve students the opportunity to train in Europe and then to return and work in hotels by ensuring that they have opportunities to get employment as managers,” he said.
“In general, the hotels are compliant and as you can see today, turnout is excellent. Most of the general managers are present today for the meeting so we have a good relationship with the majority of them. Today we will discuss the programme in place and their effectiveness, and for the graduates who are present in the country, they will have the opportunity to share their experiences, and we discuss anything that we may have to review, since we have all stakeholders present,” Minister Dogley said, stating that most establishments are in favour of local labour.
As part of the efforts to ensure Seychellois youths have an equal opportunity to progress, Minister Dogley and officials from the department of tourism are conducting visits to the various establishments and meeting with graduates and managers and discuss each respective graduate’s performance and progression, among other matters. Last week, Minister Dogley visited Eden Bleu, H Hotel, Le Meridien Fishermen’s Cove and Savoy and more visits are scheduled next week on Praslin and Curieuse.
“Our objective is to have Seychellois at top management level as we think they have the capacity and we are pushing for such in future. A certificate does not automatically make someone a manager but they need some experience in each department. There are establishments that already have in place a programme whereby the graduates have the opportunity to go through the different departments and then they can progress to managing one department, and then on to general management,” Minister Dogley added.
Among the establishments represented at the meet was Four Seasons, located at Baie Lazare, who has provided employment opportunities to seven Shannon College students over recent years.
“When we see them come back from that one year in Ireland, we see them develop with us and along those years, they develop on a personal level and also through their careers. Some people progress faster than others and we recently promoted one individual to manager within human resources so we are very proud of that. We see the programme working and we are proud to be associated with it,” said General Manager Marcel Oostenbrink.
The hotel’s human resource and finance departments are fully Seychellois, including a Shannon College graduate in the finance department, who although has not made it to a managerial position yet, is well on his way, added Mr Oostenbrick.
“It is an advantage for the working community, the islands and also for us as a hotel to have the culture of the Seychelles more present in the hotels but it requires a lot of manpower, as the minister mentioned, and there is a lack of manpower and resources, but also that talent. That talent pool, if it is not there, then we are forced to go outside, which we don’t want to,” he said.
Laureen Esparon, who is since September 2019 the People and Culture manager of Four Seasons, was present at the meet as a representative of the graduates. She joined the hotel five and a half years ago as a manager in training and joined their programme for Seychellois students. She was then promoted to assistant manager before recently being promoted to manager.
Among the issues she has raised in the past on behalf of the students are the bond, and other issues within their positions.