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Amman (November 25, 2014) – A unique approach is helping to resolve a critical workforce shortage in Jordan’s tourism industry, especially for trained, qualified and experienced professionals. Pathways to Professionalism is a scheme aimed at empowering hotel and restaurant managers to recruit, train and qualify their own workforce to prescribed standards, in order to improve the quality and service of Jordan’s hotels and restaurants. At a ceremony held under the patronage of H.E. Prof. Nidal Katamine, Minister of Labour and Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, fifty-seven employees from Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) - the first group to graduate from the scheme - were awarded certification. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the initiative in 2012 in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA), Ministry of Labour (MoL), Vocational Training Corporation (VTC) and Higher Education Accreditation Commission (HEAC).
Intercontinental Hotel Group was the first to begin implementing the work-based training to improve the qualifications and skills of their employees under the Pathways to Professionalism Scheme. The 57 IHG employees represent a range of professions from kitchen, food and beverage service and housekeeping. In order to graduate, each trainee had to pass a practical test, a theory exam and an interview, which took place  at the National Assessment Center operated by the VTC in Madaba. Certificates are accredited and awarded by the VTC.
At the award ceremony IHG managers and heads of department were also certified as Departmental Trainers, Internal Auditors and Pathways Examiners after completing training on how to train, verify the development, and assess employees registered on the Pathways to Professionalism Scheme. The success of Pathway to Professionalism is dependent upon the commitment of the employer, the employee, Departmental Trainers, Internal Verifiers and hotel and restaurant sector stakeholders.
To ensure the success of the Pathways to Professionalism Scheme, the USAID Economic Growth Through Sustainable Tourism project supported the groundbreaking initiative in a number of ways. This included publishing national ‘Professional Standards’ for the hospitality industry for the purpose of training, education, accreditation and qualifying employees in workplace under the scheme. Six ‘Employer Committees’ at IHG hotels were established, to ensure the quality of the training program. Three Job Skills Portfolios were also developed for Food and Beverage Service, Food Production and Housekeeping to help with implementation of training. In addition, technical support was provided by the USAID tourism project to IHG on how to select employees and implement the scheme. External industry examiners from the industry were trained to evaluate the trainees on the assessment days, and the tourism project also organized the examination of the trainees at the National Pathways to Professionalism Assessment Center in Madaba. The USAID tourism project also provided support to the Vocational Training Corporation and the tourism industry in the validation and accreditation of the Pathways to Professionalism Scheme.

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