RFI recently dedicated a series of articles on the work carried by the EUTF and ITC in the Gambia with the YEP programme. Here is an extract of the second reportage.
Classes are underway at the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute – eager students gather at ironing boards to press sheets, over in the dining area, tables are being set, and in the kitchen, trainee chefs are preparing a three-course meal. The tourism industry requires the mastery of a variety of skills for those looking for work in a sector vital to employment in the country.
“There is a demand in the hotel industry – tourists are coming to Africa, especially in The Gambia,” says student Kebba Sarjo. “To serve them well, to serve them how they like, I have come here to acquire skills.”
Sarjo is studying for a certificate in rooms management. In the laundry section, he learns how to use the industrial washing machines, dryers as well as linen pressing machine. “I’m training on how to launder and how to clean,” says the 24-year-old, who hopes to get a job in a hotel after his training.
Different classes are underway at the institute, students in the kitchen are preparing “Menu 16” offering Boiled Egg Chimay – Grilled Entrecote Steak with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce, Fried Onion Rings, Roasted Potatoes – Crepe Normandy. It is a hive of activity with young people at the meat counter, grill area, pot wash, and pastry section.
The tourism sector is vital to The Gambia’s economy. In total, it creates some 139,000 jobs or provides almost 19 percent of total employment, according to a 2017 report by the World Travel and Tourism Council measuring both direct and indirect economic activity.
However, tourism was hit by the political crisis over a year ago when former strongman leader Yahya Jammeh refused to leave power. The number of European visitors dropped considerably and it took some time for tourists to return to the country.
The new government led by President Adama Barrow wants to improve the opportunities in the tourism sector and this is being supported by the EU-funded Youth Development Programme (YEP). The four-year project is focused on skills and wants to create new opportunities in what is frequently described as “The Smiling Coast of Africa”.
To read the entirety of the article, visit RFI website
Source: RFI/Daniel Finnan