The Seychelles’ Ministry of Tourism has recently introduced a mentorship programme for Seychellois graduates of Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland in a bid to retain them in the local tourism industry.
The decision follows a visit by the tourism minister, Sylvestre Radegonde, made to the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA).
Since the signing of an agreement between STA and Shannon College in 2008, Seychellois students have been able to follow an advanced diploma in hospitality management at the STA for three years and then move to Ireland for one year to obtain their bachelor’s degree.
Radegonde said that out of around 100 Seychellois students who have completed their studies at the college in different fields, only about 50 are still working in the tourism industry.
“The government of Seychelles spends millions of rupees each year to sponsor this training and we would like them to contribute towards the field in which they studied when they return to Seychelles. It forms part of our manpower plan and training,” said Radegonde.
The number of mentees to be taken in under the mentorship programme has not been finalised yet.
The news, however, has been well received by past Shannon College students who are now working in the tourism industry, the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Experience of a mentorship programme by a Shannon College Graduate
Vanessa Albest, 34, is the operation manager at Hilton Silhouette Labriz Resort, which she joined on June 1. She was part of the first cohort to join the Shannon College programme in 2008, studying hotel management and graduated in 2013.
Albest (right) with two managers of the Hilton Silhouette Labriz Resort. (Juliette Dine) Photo License: CC-BY
Albest joined Hilton Northholme Resort in 2012 as part of her internship and was employed as a receptionist when she completed her studies.
She told SNA that the mentorship programme is a good one and that while working with Hilton Hotels she has gone through several of their programmes.
“My mentor was a general manager from another country in an overseas Hilton hotel. That person monitored my performance and I shared my difficulty with her and she guided me. So, I believe that the mentorship programme that the minister for tourism is introducing is a good programme and we should put more emphasis on it,” said Albest.
The 34-year-old became a front office manager in 2015 and after being promoted to front office quality manager was advised to gain some international experience.
“So, I agreed and moved to the UAE and worked with Hilton Sharjah. I was in the front office in charge of housekeeping, I stayed there for two years. After that, I moved to Ethiopia and worked for Hilton Addis Abba as an operation manager. I was there for two and a half years and then I came back to Seychelles,” said Albest.
“I am proud to have returned to Seychelles and I have come back with more experience and knowledge. I will be joining the mentorship programme because I believe with my experience, I can help someone else who want to grow and reach higher levels in this industry,” she added.