The Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) and the Shannon College of Hotel Management (SCHM)- a recognised college of the National University of Ireland (NUI) have discussed the way forward, after 10 years of cooperation.
The Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, led a Seychellois delegation that was invited to Ireland to review the cooperation between the two hospitality training institutions.
Mrs Lafortune was accompanied by the Principal of STA, Flavien Joubert, and the Chief Executive of the Agency for National Human Resource Development (ANHRD), Nadia Lauricourt.
The delegation met and held discussions with the Chancellor of the National University of Ireland. They also visited key partners of the university and some of the industry partners of the Shannon College of Hotel Management.
Mrs Lafortune, together with Mr Joubert and Mrs Lauricourt also attended this year’s graduation ceremony of the Shannon College held on March 8, 2018. Twelve Seychellois ladies graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies and International Hotel Management at the ceremony.
The delegation also met with the 6th Seychelles’ cohort, currently studying at the Shannon College. The 14 students expressed their satisfaction with the way their studies were going, adding that they have been able to adjust to the way of life in Ireland.
Three of these students will be returning to Seychelles by May 2018 to complete their professional work experience before graduating in March 2019, one will be going to Doha, Qatar, one to Dubai, while nine others will gain their hotel experience working in hotels in Ireland.
The partnership between SCHM and STA started in 2007. The first Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2008 by the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne – the then Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, together with Dr. Philip Smyth, the Director of Shannon College since 1989 and STA’s Principal Mr Flavien Joubert.
The hospitality management course offered by Seychelles Tourism Academy, was launched in 2008, and the first cohort of students was enrolled the next year. The course entails three years of study at the STA for an advanced diploma in hospitality management, after which the students move to Ireland for one year to obtain their bachelor's degree.
Mr. Joubert who pioneered the partnership between STA and Shannon College said: “The project started like a parent raising a child. We started off with very basic necessities, basic knowledge, minimum budget and no trained Seychellois staff who met the academic requirements of Shannon College of Hotel Management.”
“In spite of all the shortcomings and many other challenges, both partners did not give up, in spite of issues that threatened the partnership. The academic trust, the personal friendship built over the years between STA management, most notably the staff of the Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management programme with Shannon College, coupled with their dedication, have contributed to the success of this programme,” he added.
For her part, Mrs Lafortune said: “The Seychelles Government is making a worthwhile investment in these students and in return, we must ensure that we see the fruits of these investments.”
To date, 5 cohorts, representing a total of 62 Seychellois have successfully completed their studies at Ireland’s Shannon College of Hotel Management. Around 14 STA staff have also followed short courses, attended seminars and participated in academic activities at the college, while over 18 Shannon College staff have been involved with the progression of the Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management course through exchange programmes with STA.