Farooq Sobhan, Former Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs says

Growing skilled workforce for global hospitality sector is must

- A Monitor Report 29 Jan, 2020 | 1511 Views|-+
Dhaka: “We need to send, on an average, a million Bangladeshis abroad every year at least for the next 10 years. That cannot be done without imparting necessary skills to them particularly in the area of hospitality, hotel management and tourism because that is the fastest growing sector globally and that is where Bangladesh should have a comparative advantage.”

Farooq Sobhan, Former Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this at a roundtable discussion on Hospitality Industry: Securing the Future for Bangladesh in the Global Arena held at Daffodil International University on January 28.

Daffodil International University organised the roundtable discussion with the industry stakeholders to identify and analyse the nature and impact of the skill deficit in the Bangladesh hospitality industry.

In our country, the general managers of all the five-star hotels are expats. The country needs to incorporate the sense of community in its training programmes to mold a skilled workforce for imparting necessary management to the industry, the Chief Guest Farooq Sobhan mentioned.

He also stressed that the country must popularise training in this field and make jobs not only respectable but desirable.

Another vital growth driver in this regard would be leveraging the Bangladeshi diaspora. About 10 million Bangladeshis are working in Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, the UK and various European countries.

“There are 10 thousand Bangladeshi owned restaurants in the UK. And they are desperately short of staff. So we can be the source providing the requisite personnel not only for our own restaurants but on a global basis.”

Sobhan further claimed, “We should not only focus on key areas but also contribute towards improving the image and brand name of Bangladesh abroad – through our culture and food as well as through our people.”

With the aim of building a skilled workforce for the industry by ensuring international standard education and training to the students, the hospitality department of the university is tying up with Oxford Cultural Collective Forum of Oxford School of Hospitality Management.

At the roundtable discussion, Dr Donald Sloan, Founder and Chair, Oxford Cultural Collective (OCC) Forum Head, Oxford School of Hospitality Management, Oxford Brookes University UK delivered the keynote speech.

“The answer to the gap lies in education and training,” urged Sloan.

He marked the pre-requisites that should be incorporated in the country’s and will be in Daffodil’s training modules: world-class education and curriculum, distinctiveness in the competitive market, reflecting hospitality and gastronomy as cultural entities, experiential learning, employability and facilities as key appeal.

Strategic alliances with national and international partners for internship and employment of the graduates are also vital, not leaving these to chance, stressed Sloan.

The curriculum must have international focus as well since the broader target is to securing employability in the global market. This includes networks and partnerships too, explains Sloan. It can also be a driver for attracting students to this field.

Dr Md Sabur Khan, Founder and Chairman, BoT, Daffodil International University also attended the event as a special guest.

Daffodil’s hospitality department expects to incorporate OCC Academy’s alliance of progressive educational institute, mutual support to drive best practice and international alumni network to their curriculum, concluded Prof Dr Yousuf Mahbubul Islam, Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Prior to the partnership, the university is also organising a symposium to identify the skill deficits of the workforce in the hospitality industry on April 2-4.

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