30 JANUARY 2002
Tourism Minister Michael Refalo announced at the launching of an ITS training programme this week that by the end of 2003, only those who can prove they have undergone industrial training will be eligible for employment in Maltese hotels and catering establishments. The minister added that the objective was primarily to ensure that by the end of 2003 all staff working in the industry would have received training.
Dr Refalo, ITS Director General Philip Gibbs and Director Department of Tourism, Joseph Micallef, this week launched the ITS Quality Service Training Programme - tailor-made for those who already work in the hospitality industry but have never had the opportunity to receive any formal training.
The intensive training programme is aimed at front line service employees in the food and beverage service department. The initiative is an 18-hours course, consisting of six training sessions of three hours each and is free of charge. The programme has been structured in such a way that participants receive maximum benefit with minimum disturbance to their work schedule.
Minister Refalo stressed the importance of training at all levels of the industry, "ITS full and part time courses only go some way to making up for the lack of training of employees working in the industry."
Refalo said that most five and four Star hotel managements as well as some restaurant operators have fully trained staff and provide on the job training to their staff, however others do not. "It is a must that for the industrys own advancement and better HR development that staff receive regular training and instruction."
"This is why the ministry, in conjunction with ITS is once more offering personnel working in the industry the opportunity to perfect their skills and undergo training," he elaborates.
The minister said that it was imperative that owners of hotels and restaurants who did not have the means or know how to organize training courses ensure that staff members take up the opportunity and attend the Quality Service Training Programme.
ITS Director Philip Gibbs emphasised that giving consistently excellent service helped outlets keep their customers and attract new ones. The programme would help develop teamwork skills and teach that different customers have different needs and how best to meet those needs effectively.
The course includes tuition in customer service, personal presentation and hygiene, communication skills, safety in the workplace, food hygiene and practical skills.