Rescuing an egg may not be one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about professional development programmes, but this was a task set to the participants at the recent development workshop for graduates and staff of theÊSala Bai Hotel School in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was a task that required a degree of ingenuity, team work and problem solving. Students needed to develop a practical, yet innovative solution, using a sparse and rather strange collection of materials to the interesting problem. As one of the participants remarked, ÒThis was an Ôegg-cellent’ exercise in collaborating to solve the problem.Ó
This is only one of the many task activities within the three day programme that is designed to encourage the development of leadership and management skills that canÊimmediately be taken back into the workplace. The focus is on analysing and solving problems and presenting solutions to real problems.
The programme, run by Prof Peter Jones and Susan Jones, is sponsored and supported by eHotelier, Friends of Sala Bai Australia and Swiss-Bell International. The participants were drawn from graduates of the hotel school who hold supervisory and management positions in the Siem Reap area and hotel school staff.
Using a mix of case studies, practical leadership tasks, analytical problem solving and developing communication skills, the programme provided new professional knowledge and encouraged Òthinking out of the boxÓ. The groups had to collaborate and cooperate in analysing and solving problems under strict time pressures.
Success in programmes like these is not just in coming up with solutions and solving problems, but in what the participants learn about themselves in working under pressure and with others. Ensuring that clear communications are properly understood and taking time to contribute to and evaluate solutions to problems that are well outside their normal day-to-day activities has tremendous benefit to the individual and ultimately to the employer and the industry.
The feedback from the participants clearly demonstrates the value of professional development programmes with comments such as:
ÒI feel more confident in terms of doing the presentation and sharing ideas with my team members.Ó
ÒI learned to become more confident and how to develop my leadership opportunities for the future.Ó
ÒI gained new knowledge and how to prepare an appropriate plan and then control it.Ó
Sala Bai Hotel School was set up in 2002 by the French NGO Agir pour le Cambodge to provide hospitality education and training to underprivileged young Cambodians. The school educates free of charge more than one hundred students a year. Cohorts are 70% women, those who are more vulnerable to poverty and human trafficking and often have restricted access to education in Cambodia.
Since the school was set up, over 1500 students have been educated and trained in careers in the hospitality industry, enabling them to achieve economic independence and support their families. The diploma the students receive on graduation is recognised by the national authorities and the school is very proud of having 100% job placement within one month after graduation. The professional development programme is a logical step in encouraging lifelong learning amongst the graduates and providing development opportunities that may not be available elsewhere.
This was the second of three workshops that together form the eHotelier Future Leaders Programme, a certified endorsed professional development programme specifically designed for supervisory and management levels to assist in developing their potential to become the future leaders of the industry. For further information on this and other professional development programmes please click here.