Last month, Thalias was delighted to be part of the launch of a new initiative that will operate out of our own premises at Topaz on Norodom Boulevard. The Thalias Assessment Center for Food Production has been created to address the critical lack of formal skills training in the hospitality industry in Cambodia. This skills formation and recognition deficit has grave implications not only for industry, but also for the hundreds of thousands of workers whose ability to achieve their potential is impaired.
Around 800,000 people are directly employed in hospitality in Cambodia today. By 2030, when as many as 15 million tourists are expected to come to Cambodia, that number is likely to be as high as two million people. These are Cambodians with talent, knowledge, skills and passion but few formal ways of scaling their professional careers, receiving or transmitting skills and knowledge, or of travelling in order to develop their skills elsewhere. Meanwhile, companies looking to hire have no framework for assessing whether a prospective employee actually has the skills needed to fit the role in question.
Created in partnership with the National Committee for Tourism Professionals at the Ministry of Tourism, international NGO ASSIST, and with the financial support of Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEW), a member of the KfW bank group, the new organisation will train the trainers who will be able to deliver formal, certifiable training to professional chefs at multiple industry levels. The training and certification will be awarded in accordance with the ASEAN tourism qualification framework, meaning employees can travel within ASEAN, and elsewhere, confident that their skills will be recognised.
We were delighted to welcome His Excellency Thong Khon, the Minister for Tourism, and are honoured to support his Ministry in fulfilling its strategic goals of using a competency-based assessment of prior learning to certify half of all tourism professionals by 2020 and all of them by 2025.
And we are very excited about the ways in which this new initiative will strengthen the quality of Cambodia’s tourism industry, already renowned the world over for the warmth and grace of its welcome. The benefits will be experienced not only by the properly certified workers, but all stakeholders, including vocational training schools, hotels, restaurants and, indeed, the tourists themselves.