Trainee star-graders leave for SA

Sunday Express - - NEWS - Retha­bile Pitso

ThiRTy lucky Ba­sotho un­der­go­ing train­ing with the Le­sotho Tourism Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (LTDC) to be­come star-grad­ing as­ses­sors to­day leave for South Africa where they would com­plete the two-week course.

LTDC Qual­ity As­sur­ance Of­fi­cer Makatleho Noosi said af­ter the course, the grad­u­ates — who come from hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism back­grounds — are ex­pected to as­sist the cor­po­ra­tion ful­fil its vi­sion of up­grad­ing at least 40 ac­com­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ments a year.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Noosi, the LTDC had part­nered Jo­han­nes­burg-based in­ter­na­tional Train­ing School (iTS) in the train­ing and award­ing of in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised cer­tifi­cates to the grad­u­ates, hence the trainees’ de­par­ture for South Africa to­day.

iTS is a sub­sidiary of the Amer­i­can Ho­tel and Lodg­ing Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute, and the LTDC hopes the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s in­volve­ment in the train­ing is go­ing to re­sult in world-class as­ses­sors, whose top 10 would be con­tracted by the cor­po­ra­tion on an ad hoc ba­sis.

“in our con­tin­ued ef­forts to en­cour­age ac­com­mo­da­tion-op­er­a­tors into ap­ply­ing for up­grad­ing, we have ini­ti­ated this train­ing for the group not only to be­come as­ses­sors but be ca­pac­i­tated to im­prove the fa­cil­ity they are to eval­u­ate, with pro­fes­sion­ally for­mu­lated rec­om­men­da­tions.

“The train­ing will leave them with the ca­pac­ity to ob­jec­tively iden­tify and fill-up gaps the owner would have over­looked. They would also be made aware of the ver­sa­til­ity and dy­namic na­ture of the sec­tor that keeps chang­ing to suit the dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties of vis­i­tors,” she said.

Ms Noosi fur­ther said in the com­ing weeks, LTDC would train es­tab­lish­men­t­op­er­a­tors in ar­eas such as cus­tomer­care, front-desk and restau­rant ser­vice, as well as care for cus­tomers with spe­cial needs.

“We need to level the play­ing field so that both the as­ses­sor and op­er­a­tor help with meet­ing de­mands for tourists. The aim is to bring Le­sotho’s ac­com­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ments at par with their in­ter­na­tional coun­ter­parts in or­der to en­gage tourists from across the globe.

“We would want vis­i­tors not to spot any dif­fer­ence when they are here be­cause our ser­vices will meet the de­mands of a cer­tain star-grad­ing. if an estab­lish­ment is awarded three stars, then it must be stan­dard with any in­ter­na­tional three­star fa­cil­ity.

“How­ever, the grad­ing sys­tem can­not be ap­plied with­out any ex­cep­tions such as when a rustic estab­lish­ment has to be graded.

“There can be ex­cep­tions of where such an estab­lish­ment is a hut with a thatched roof, un­like an estab­lish­ment in Hawaii, for in­stance. It does not mean that type can­not be graded ac­cord­ingly with­out em­brac­ing the cul­tural set-up it comes with.

“The stan­dard as­pects to take into con­sid­er­a­tion would be to as­sess the qual­ity of ser­vice, trim­mings and fur­nish­ings and clean sheets, to name but a few,” she said.

Ms Noosi fur­ther said the cor­po­ra­tion was plan­ning to hold the train­ings an­nu­al­lly in a bid to as­sist more op­er­a­tors el­e­vate their busi­nesses and also as­sured par­tic­i­pants who may not make it through the ex­am­i­na­tion not to de­spair as the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try re­quired their skills.

Speak­ing in Maseru on the side­lines of the train­ing ses­sion, iTS Na­tional Train­ing Manager, Sue Daya ex­pressed con­fi­dence the trainees would excel in the field. She fur­ther pledged ITS’ sup­port for Le­sotho’s hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

“So far, the par­tic­i­pants have partly com­pleted a Train­ing Devel­op­ment mod­ule which will es­tab­lish them in the Na­tional Qual­i­fi­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion.

“They would be awarded qual­i­fi­ca­tions cer­ti­fied by the Amer­i­can Ho­tel and Lodge Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute (AHLEI) which are in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised.

“i have seen the pas­sion and en­thu­si­asm from th­ese pupils and they are guar­an­teed to go as far as over­seas with this busi­ness,” she said.

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