As a young receptionist, barely six months on the job at the front desk of Continental Hotel (now Golden Tulip), and LOVING IT, I was led to believe a hotel school was in the making! This was when I went to then Personnel Manager expressing my desire to become a Hotel Manager.
At his response I WAS EXCITED! It was imprinted in my mind, a ‘headline’ never to be erased. Ever since, my heart leaps whenever I see newspaper headlines on a hotel and tourism school in Ghana.
By the way, just for you to appreciate the time lapse, I’m in my early years of retirement.
Our Story: The Headlines
The Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA)…took over the running of the Hotel Tourism and Catering Training Institute (HOTCATT), the state tourism and hospitality training school. GIMPA now has the mandate to provide tourism and hospitality training in the country to help improve professional standards in the industry. Source: GNA Business News of Wednesday, 22 April 2009
The Hotel, Tourism and Catering Training Institute (HOTCATT) has been reopened by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture since its shutdown in 2009.
…the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, on Thursday called for the strengthening of the Hotel, Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) to enable it to provide the needed training for industry players.
The school, she said, in its present state could not respond adequately to the training needs of the hospitality and tourism industry since it was facing challenges including weak curriculum, poor marketing strategies, and inadequate technology… demand for the industry required a retooled institution that would produce quality human resources to meet the exigencies of the industry.
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) has officially reopened the Hotel, Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) after a massive renovation.
The Ministry also introduced a new tagline for HOTCATT: Dubbed “Skill Development for a Career Not Just for a Job,” to affirm the agency’s position as a career developing institution in the tourism and hospitality industry. – Source: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture reopens HOTCATT
“Over the years, this institution has had its fair share of misery, disappointment, and no budgetary allocation, lack of support and lack of direction. The focus on skills development in the hospitality industry took a back burner for a while. …Today, you are witnessing a tip of the iceberg of that manifesto pledge,” …
HOTCATT is to provide a massive turnaround to Ghana’s tourism and hospitality industry as the center which will give students the best of critical professionals, managerial and technical skills needed to provide good and quality service for all. – Source: Ministry Of Tourism Reopens HOTCATT
Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) is working with various relevant stakeholders to set up a Hospitality Training Institute to improve the quality of services in the country.
Unless thoughts are expressed, they remain wherever they are.
- All I know about HOTCATT is that they train people who are already working in the industry.
- It was established to upgrade skills and to provide opportunity for continual education for industry
- For an institution that was set up to train front line workers and perhaps top managers to feed our tourism and hospitality industry, HOTCATT hasn’t lived up to its bidding and mandate. At the moment, the institution seems irrelevant to the sector. In recent times when it underwent some sort of operational and administrative overhaul, it is still seen as not poised enough to raise professionally trained personnel for the industry.
- Demonstration block is outdated
- Industry is far ahead of HOTCATT
- Research to identify skill gaps in industry and bridge the gap
- Input from Ministry not forth coming
- Service personnel not adequate for teaching
- The level of commitment from Ministry is questionable.
- Certification of students needs to conform with formal structures existing
Her Story: ‘The Headlines’
HOTCATT, THE WAY FORWARD
The objective for which HOTCATT was established many decades ago has certainly outlived its usefulness. At that time the conditions prevailing made it a relevant training institution that trained a whole lot of service-providers for hospitality and tourism sectors.
Looking at the sheer speed of quality growth in the industry over the past three decades, it can be concluded that HOTCATT is now a shadow of itself.
Some suggestions to make the institution progressively influential in the training and preparation of service-providers to take up job positions at various levels in the industry, follow:
1. The new anticipated paradigm
- The State should continue to play a key role in the new dispensation.
- An effective board (from industry) perhaps reflecting PPP (Public, Private Partnership) to work with the State.
- Stakeholders should include the State, i.e. HOTTCATT, Multi-National Hotel chains operating in Ghana, Large Tax privately-owned Ghanaian Hotels and Hospitality Departments operating within the Technical Universities and allied institutions.
2. Recommended Structure of Activities
A lead Consultant should put a team of stakeholder practitioners to go through the following steps and come up with a plan of implementation for the reborn HOTCATT:
- Review existing curriculum
- Identify progressive training areas based on the needs of industry at all levels
- Design relevant and appropriate course modules to be taught
- Design and implement relevant application facilities to be sited at the new HOTCATT facility in all facets of hospitality training
- Design all-year round training modules with appropriate time-tables
- Set up online practical training linkages using existing high-level hotels as part of the teaching and learning program modules
- Apply same facilities to upgrade capacity-building for service-providers already working in hotels
- Facilitate the use of existing hotels for periodic experiential learning programs
- Consideration of benefits for hotels whose facilities are extensively used for training purposes
- Appropriate levels of certifications to be approved by an appropriate accreditation authority (a National Hotels Schools Accreditation Board).
Thanking all contributors for their inputs