The Chairman of Rwanda Workforce Development Authority (WDA), Charles Karake, has said that the service sector is lacking skilled personnel needed to make the industry favourably competent in the region and the rest of the world.
Karake was speaking at an event organised to celebrate the signing of a partnership agreement between WDA and Rwanda Association of Hotels and Restaurants at Alpha Palace Hotel, Remera.
“A recent skills audit we did in the sector, indicated a big gap of skills lacking in this sector which needs to be covered if we have to compete with the rest of the world more especially in East African Community,” said Karake.
Emmanuel Rusera, head of tourism in the Private Sector Federation, lauded Karake’s remarks saying that hotels which fall under the tourism industry, have a central role in the hospitality industry and therefore need to give quality services to the clients who include foreigners.
“The government has tried a lot to improve the industry and will continue until best services are achieved. Tourism has a big role to play in the national economy, hotels too play a big role in hospitality, so skilled employees are needed in this industry,” Rusera said in his remarks.
Chong Fook Yen, the Director General of WDA noted that the sector is hampered by non professional and unskilled employees.
In his presentation, Chong said that hotels and restaurants have registered a large number of unskilled workers. He however cited Serena Hotel, Novotel Hotel, Flamingo Restaurant and a few others that have managed to employ skilled labour.
Chong added that at least 2,666 skilled workers are needed to cover the skilled labour gap of lacking skilled workers in the sector quoting the recent provisional skills audit report.
The event attended by Hotel and Restaurant operators saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between WDA and Hotel and Restaurant Association.
In the signed MoU by both parties, WDA vowed to train hotel and restaurant practitioners to improve quality services. According to Chong, WDA has a new philosophy that is based on a demand led and competency based skills development model.
The tourism industry is said to have a wide potential source of employment which can help to fight poverty.