Tackling Real-World Problems | The star

The country’s hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing sectors, contributing significantly to economic growth.

To meet the demand for professionals in the field, INTI International College Penang School of Hospitality (SOHOS) recently completed a project with G Hotel to equip its students with real-world knowledge and skills and prepare them for a successful career after obtaining their diploma. As part of the project, the students had to identify the factors critical to the success of talent management in the hotel.

This was to equip them with practical know-how to match the theories learned in the classroom and to provide them with a holistic view of the different specializations so that they could stand out from their peers in a competitive work environment.

G Hotel’s assistant director of talent development, Aaron Leong, said the students were given a problem statement and acted as consultants to analyze and suggest solutions.

As part of the three-month project which began in January, students were exposed to the current challenge of labor shortages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Many hotels have been forced to take drastic measures, including temporary closures and workforce reductions to support business,” it said in a press release.

Joan Loh Wen Xin, who is pursuing her degree in hotel management, was satisfied with her experience as the hotel management supported and guided the students throughout the project.

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

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

They then introduced a “3D (Doable, Dynamic and Deserving) concept” to help motivate and improve employee mood in the workplace and increase productivity.

Thanks to the guidance of SOHOS professors, the students managed to impress the management team of the hotel.

Leong said students need to adapt to the fast-paced challenges in the hospitality industry.

“They learned quickly and were proactive. These are essential features given the ever-changing industry environment,” he said.

SOHOS keynote speaker Clement Foo believes that hospitality education is evolutionary and that the skills students learn at INTI are transferable to any career they wish to pursue in the future.

“At SOHOS, students gain a solid foundation of ‘how and why’ in an experiential learning environment.

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

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

“I hope to climb the ranks of the hospitality industry, no matter how long it takes.

“Working in this line makes me happy. It makes me smile and gives me satisfaction when I see hotel guests smile – being in this industry means you can serve and entertain different types of people,” Loh concluded.

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