Albest, 34, is the operations manager of the Hilton Silhouette Labriz Resort. (Nation of Seychelles)
The Seychelles Department of Tourism has recently introduced a mentorship program for Seychellois graduates from the Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland with the aim of retaining them in the local tourism industry.
The move follows a visit by Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde to the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA).
Since the signing of an agreement between STA and Shannon College in 2008, Seychellois students can take an advanced degree in hotel management at STA for three years and then go to Ireland for a year to obtain their bachelor’s degree.
Radegonde said that out of about 100 Seychellois students who have completed college in different fields, only about 50 are still working in the tourism industry.
“The Government of Seychelles spends millions of rupees every year to sponsor this training and we would like them to contribute to the field in which they have studied when they return to Seychelles. This is part of our manpower plan and our training,” Radegonde said.
The number of mentees to be accommodated under the mentorship program has not yet been finalized.
The news, however, was welcomed by former Shannon College students who now work in the tourism industry, the main contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Experience of a mentorship program by a Shannon College graduate
Vanessa Albest, 34, is operations manager at Hilton Silhouette Labriz Resortwhich she joined on June 1. She was part of the first cohort to join the Shannon College program in 2008, studying hospitality management and graduated in 2013.
|Albest (right) with two managers of the Hilton Silhouette Labriz Resort. (Juliet Dine) Photo License: CC-BY|
Albest joined the Hilton Northholme Resort in 2012 as part of her internship and was employed as a receptionist when she finished school.
She told SNA that the mentorship program was good and that while working with Hilton Hotels, she had taken several of their programs.
“My mentor was a general manager from another country at a Hilton hotel overseas. This person followed my performance and I shared my difficulty with her and she guided me. So I think the program mentoring program that the Minister of Tourism is introducing is a good program and we should put more emphasis on it,” said Albest.
Aged 34, he became front office manager in 2015 and after being promoted to front office quality manager he was advised to gain international experience.
“So I accepted and moved to UAE and worked with Hilton Sharjah. I moved to Ethiopia and worked for Hilton Addis Abba as an operation. I stayed there for two and a half years and then came back to Seychelles,” Albest said.
“I am proud to have returned to Seychelles and I have come back with more experience and knowledge. I will join the mentorship program because I believe that with my experience I can help someone else who wants grow and reach higher levels in this industry,” she added.