Morocco has a very young population. The average age of the 33 million people living in this North African kingdom is 27. Germany, by comparison, has an average population age of 45. In a country like this with a structurally high level of youth unemployment and a shortage of training opportunities, it’s no wonder that what most young Moroccans want, most of all, is a secure future. Some of them have travelled to Europe to find it, while others have remained in Morocco to seek jobs that can provide them with a living. An increasing number of young people are turning to the tourism industry for work, and the Robinson Club in Agadir is helping out with its own Hotel School.
Since it was established eight years ago, the Hotel School has received more than 10,000 applications from young people all over the country. Every year, 90 applicants are selected to take part in one the six hotel training disciplines: Kitchen, Restaurant, Housekeeping, Reception, Technology and Spa. 17 experienced teachers provide the theoretical part of the courses, including language training. This accounts for 20 percent of the total hours in the programme. The department managers in the six training disciplines then provide practical training to the students on the other days.
The 12-month training program, which concludes with an internationally recognised certificate, is a win-win situation for Robinson Club and it helps young people to embark on careers in the hotel industry. Some of the Hotel School graduates are employed by Robinson Club and others use their certificate to apply for positions at other hotels. The certificate (Centre de Formation par Apprentissages), which was developed by the Moroccan Education Ministry and GIZ (a German international organisation promoting international cooperation), has an excellent reputation in Morocco. It also provides Robinson Club with flexible and professional personnel who have received targeted training according to certified quality standards.
"We wanted to help build Agadir into one of Morocco’s tourism mainstays,“ explained Thierry Hegenbart, General Manager of the Club. This is achieved in part by investing in the training programme for the young people, but also by supporting local businesses because the Robinson Club has 34 local suppliers. Thierry and his team are very committed to helping the young trainees. “We do whatever we can,“ he said, referring to the fact that he organises their transport between the Club and their homes, as well as providing internships to children from the local SOS Children’s Village. Tawfik is a great example of a Hotel School graduate who has made a career for himself. He was one of the first students at the newly founded Hotel School in 2008. Today, he is already working in a position of responsibility as Front Office Manager. “It’s a big step up for me,“ he said, delighted with his progress. Tawfik would like to get involved in training the Hotel School students one day, and they would definitely profit from his experience.