Tackling real-world problems

Successful project: The students posing with their lecturers and G Hotel management team.

THE country’s hospitality industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors, contributing considerably to economic growth.

To cater to the demand for professionals in the field, INTI International College Penang School of Hospitality (SOHOS) recently completed a project with G Hotel to provide its students with real-world knowledge and competencies and to prepare them for a successful career after graduation. As part of the project, students were expected to identify critical factors for the success of talent management at the hotel.

This was to equip them with practical know-how to match theories learnt in class, and to provide them with a holistic view of the different specialisations so that they can stand out among their peers in a competitive workplace environment.

G Hotel assistant talent development manager Aaron Leong said the students were given a problem statement and they acted as consultants to analyse and suggest solutions.

As part of the three-month project which began in January, the students were exposed to the current labour shortage challenge brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Many hotels were forced to take drastic measures including temporary closure and cutting down manpower to sustain the business,” he said in a press release.

Joan Loh Wen Xin, who is pursuing her Diploma in Hotel Management, was pleased with her experience as the hotel management was supportive and guided the students throughout the project.

“We were tasked with looking at how the hotel could retain manpower in the laundry department.

“The laundry area is hot, so we had to do something about it,” she said, adding that the group brainstormed recommendations on how to improve the laundry room, which was located in the basement.

They then introduced a “3D (Doable, Dynamic and Deserving) concept” to help motivate and boost the mood of employees at the workplace, and elevate productivity.

Thanks to the guidance of the SOHOS faculty members, the students managed to impress the hotel’s management team.

Leong said the students had to adapt to fast-paced challenges in the hotel industry.

“They were fast learners and proactive. These are essential traits given the industry’s ever-changing environment,” he said.

SOHOS senior lecturer Clemment Foo believes that hospitality education is future-proof and the skills students acquire at INTI are transferable to any career they wish to pursue in the future.

“At SOHOS, students build a strong ‘know-how and know-why’ foundation in an experiential learning environment.

“They also develop critical thinking when they take part in projects which allows them to demonstrate their ability to solve complex business problems,” he added.

The reopening of the country’s borders, said Loh, gives hope to hoteliers and future graduates who will soon seek employment in the field.

“I hope to move up the ladder in the hotel industry, no matter how long it takes.

“Working in this line makes me happy. It brings a smile to my face and gives me satisfaction when I see hotel guests smile – being in this industry means you get to serve and entertain different kinds of people,” Loh concluded.

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