Under the Patronage of HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal, the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Dead Sea Hotels, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the IHG Dead Sea Hotels Training Academy on October 31, 2016. The launch was attended by Minister of Tourism Lina Annab and US Ambassador Alice Wells, as well as representatives of the academy’s local partners, Amman Chamber of Commerce, Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development, Ghour Al-Mazra’a Club and Ta’asheera for Humanitarian Development. Also present were some of the students set to begin training at the academy.
The academy seeks to address challenges faced by local communities within the Jordan Valley area, particularly youth, in finding employment in the hospitality industry. During the first year, the academy will equip 50 people from the local community with a range of hospitality skills, after which they will be employed at hotels within the Dead Sea area.
“This project is part of our long-term commitment to do everything necessary to achieve the expected comprehensive development of our hotels in this very important global tourism destination, a central component of which is our participation in social entrepreneurship projects in cooperation with the public, private and NGO sectors in Jordan,” explained Mr. Firas Irsheidat, Area General Manager of IHG Dead Sea Properties.
“This new hospitality academy presents a fantastic opportunity for the area’s communities and its hotels,” said US Ambassador Alice Wells. “Not only will this initiative provide employment to 50 people from the area within a year, but it will also act as a pilot program that other hotels in the area could potentially adopt, thus further boosting development of skills and recruitment from the local communities.”
The training academy will be based within InterContinental Hotels Group’s Dead Sea Hotels. The main training center will be based at Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa while the outreach center will be at the Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea. The mission of the IHG Dead Sea Hotels Academy is to solve key employment challenges faced by the local community living in the Dead Sea vicinity and minimize unemployment in the area.
USAID’s support includes providing an IT learning laboratory for the trainees. USAID’s Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism (BEST) project will also deploy administrative staff and professional training advisors to design training materials for all courses provided by the academy and to oversee the training program on a daily basis.
The 50 trainees will undergo food and beverage service, food production and housekeeping department training. Each trainee will then select one path for their career and will be employed at one of the IHG Dead Sea hotels upon completing their year-long training.