THE first intake of participants in a training academy designed to give unemployed people experience of the tourism and hospitality industry will complete the programme this week.
Based at the Rutland Hotel, in Douglas, the four-week course has seen 13 unemployed Manx workers, mainly school leavers but with some older participants, learn skills in areas such as reception, housekeeping and food production.
Linda Maddrell, human resources manager for Sleepwell Hotels, said: ‘It’s very much giving them the environment for them to learn in so other hotels can benefit from it as well.
‘It would be nice to see other hotels offer something similar and take larger numbers.’
Tony Kaneen, aged 26, of Lord Street, Douglas, said he had been unemployed ‘for quite a while’ so he jumped at the chance to take part in the training academy.
‘It’s probably the best thing I have done for a few years now,’ he said.
‘In the time we’ve had, I’ve learned quite a lot.’
He said hospitality was a sector that he could see himself working in, saying he enjoyed dealing with customers.
‘I’ve applied for jobs in the area of food and beverage and bar work but due to the economic situation at the moment there’s too many applicants for not that many vacancies and that’s been tough.’
At the end of the course participants will take a multiple choice exam, after which a certificate will be awarded to those successful by the Isle of Man College.
He said he hoped gaining the certificate would help prospective employers to see that he was committed.
Meanwhile, an 18-year-old man from Port St Mary who asked not to be named, said he had been unemployed since October, when his seasonal contract ended.
He said it was ‘frustrating’ applying for jobs and not even getting a response.
The programme also covered personal motivation, health and safety, food hygiene and customer service.
Linda said there had been a recognition by both the Department of Economic Development and the industry there was a need to have experienced staff: ‘Initiatives such as this are a perfect solution to the problem of both engaging with young persons who may be struggling in the current economic climate while meeting the growing needs of the Island’s tourism and hospitality employers without looking further afield.’