LAOS - Walk across the Job Bridge!
Finding your first job in the tourism and hospitality sector can be difficult, but a new job skills training programme is helping to make that journey easier.
The “Job Bridge Programme” is a 10-week English language and Job Skills training programme designed to equip trainees with the right skillset to secure their first job in the tourism and hospitality sector. An initiative of the Skills for Tourism Project • LAO/029, the training programme is designed and delivered by Vientiane College with the support of a number of hospitality businesses across Vientiane Capital. The programme combines a variety of components, including English language training, employability skills, work-place exposure and CV and interview preparation.
Find out more details about the Job Bridge, watch here:
As the second round of the “Job Bridge Programme” is about to be launched, let’s have a look at two former trainees and what impact the training had on them:
I have gained my independence!
Katay, 29 years old from Vientiane Capital
“You have to make sure it’s fresh” says Katay as she is carefully picking fruits.
Katay is working as Head Chef at Earth Bar, one of the most popular bars in the capital. From whipping up a burger in no time to overseeing the waiters, the young woman also takes care of the food supplies and enjoys her walks to the market. Asked about how she landed the job, Katay’s strong willpower becomes visible.
Determined to improve her skills and further support her two children as a single mom, Katay signed up to the 10-week long Job Bridge Programme delivered by Vientiane College and funded by the Skills for Tourism Project • LAO/029. “It’s the only training I’ve ever participated in” she says “I didn’t go to high school, so this was a unique chance for me”. The Job Bridge programme doesn’t require prior education and aims to help people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, to land their first job in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Katay has fond memories of the programme, especially moments spent with fellow students and the many visits to hotels and restaurants. “I enjoyed the real-life exposure, as you see how everything is really done”.
When she completed the training, Katay was employed as an assistant chef, but very soon her skills caught the attention of her supervisor and she was promoted to Head Chef. The inspiring young woman is making her way in the industry.
She goes on to explain “that working in hospitality is not always perceived as very prestigious, but for me it is, as this job has allowed me to take care of my kids and my life. I don’t have to rely on a man to provide for me. I have gained my independence!”
“I’m not afraid to talk to guests anymore, I even like it now!”
Vannalith, 20 years old from Savannakhet
“I’ve been living in Vientiane for 8 months now!” says Vannalith. The 20-year-old Savannakhet native came to the capital in the pursuit of a better future. He was hoping to work in the hospitality sector but soon realized that he felt too shy to approach customers, especially when it came to talking in English. Looking for ways to improve his communication skills, a friend suggested to apply for the “Job Bridge Programme”. Intrigued by the promise of intensive English language training as well as job skills development, Vannalith made sure he was one of the selected candidates.
Within the 10-week “Job Bridge Programme”, the young man learned a great deal about employability skills and was exposed to real life work placement. “I loved the visits to the different hotels and restaurants as well as the role plays, says Vannalith, “We received a lot of practice and not just theory.”
Within a couple of days after graduation, Vannalith was recruited by the prestigious Crowne Plaza Hotel. “It’s a dream come true!” he exclaims. Starting off as a runner, he soon became a full-time waiter. He enjoys the daily contact with people from around the world. “You know, during the training I learned that people are just people. And it’s true! I’m not afraid to talk to guests anymore, I even like it now!”
Asked about his future goals, he doesn’t shy away from the idea of becoming a supervisor in 2 years’ time. And with the biggest grin, he adds “and then manager!”
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