Up to 64 employees of different Rwandan hotels and restaurants have completed a one-month training course in English for Trade, courtesy of Rwanda Workforce Development Authority (WDA).
The training course, which was conducted at WDA Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Kigali City (Kicukiro Campus), was facilitated by Singaporean experts, Joycelyn Lim and Sophia Tsanga.
The course is part of a broader national programme to raise the standards of services offered in hotels and restaurants.
At the end of the training, the trainees held a get-together ceremony during which they expressed gratitude to WDA for making them better service providers since most of them hardly spoke English before.
Participants were from Serena Hotel, Hotel de Mille Collines, Alpha Palace Hotel, La Pallise Hotel, Sky Hotel, Impala Hotel, Flamingo Restaurant, Republika Lounge and Bausse Jour.
Most of the students were mainly from direct customer-related services including waiters, tresses, receptionists and housekeepers. The others were security guards, technicians, chefs and cleaners.
“I am happy that I can now ably express myself in English, and confidently talk to clients as I go about my routine work,” one of the training beneficiaries, Annet Agatesi, told The New Times.
“It’s such a confidence boost.”
During the course, students were asked to identify common nouns and verbs associated with their workplace, and taught to construct simple sentences.
The course content included standard greetings and introductory of themselves and their workplace; identifying common nouns and verbs; vocabulary; grammar; constructing simple phrases and sentences that are common in their workplace; picture description using simple sentence construction of nouns and verbs; role-play in their workplace; and constructing simple conversation using common nouns, verbs and adjectives.
“On the overall, the majority of the students were highly active and passionate in learning as much as they could. They possessed strong and positive learning attitudes,” said trainer Lim.
One of the identified challenges was that most of the participants had no understanding of basic English.
“WDA is keen to help companies empower their staff with skills that are tailored to their day-today job tasks.
Such short-term courses are an integral part of our long-term strategy,” said WDA Director General Chong Fook Yen.
The training is subsequent to a November last year agreement between WDA and the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Rwanda under which the former offered to help raise the levels of professionalism in the hotel and hospitality industry.
In February, President Paul Kagame singled out hotels and restaurants as some of the workplaces with poor service delivery.
And during this year’s National Leadership Retreat, the Government tasked WDA to urgently make an impact on the country’s workforce through the implementation of an integrated Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system.
WDA was created January last year as the national coordinating authority for all hands-on practical training programmes.
English is increasingly becoming the language of business in Rwanda, and the Government recently adopted it as the language of instruction in schools.