17 young people successfully finished the third cohort of the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) in Romania, and their achievement was celebrated at a graduation ceremony hosted by the Athénée Palace Hilton Hotel Bucharest.
YCI is an education programme that, through a combination of classroom-based and practical training, teaches life and work skills to young people with limited or no opportunities to find a legitimate job or continue in further education. YCI is delivered in partnership with the international hotel industry and it aims to enhance the life chances and economic prospects of young people by improving their employability and empowering them to make informed career choices available to them.
Following six months of this intensive education programme with over 900 training hours, the three participating hotels in Bucharest: Athénée Palace Hilton, JW Marriott Grand Hotel and Radisson Blu, were able to present certificates of achievement to the successful students.
During the ceremony, Mrs Linda Griffin, General Manager of the Athenée Palace Hilton Bucharest, said to the young graduates:
In addition to the six months of YCI training, the Institute for the Development of Human Resources (IDRU) was able to offer two months of additional training thus enabling students to gain a formal qualification as “Hospitality worker – level 1”, which is recognised by the National Council for Adult Vocational Training.
"YCI really touches our Hilton core values, particularly creating opportunities and strengthening communities. I hope that this programme will help you in your future career and your life ambitions and I hope to see some future leaders coming out from these groups."
Three months after the actual training had ended in June 2012, 70% of the participants had secured a job in different service-based sectors, such as hospitality, retail, catering, security and health. Half of the graduates are currently pursuing further education courses.
As Mr Bogdan Dumitrascu (YCI 2012 graduate, currently working as chef at KFC, Cora branch), puts it: “I am grateful for this chance. When I came into the programme I didn’t have high expectations, but here I found my passion: to become a chef. If I had not done this course, I would have not been able to get the job I have today, it really made the difference and gave me a better chance. I love this job so much that I will continue to improve, and will continue to pursue my dream of becoming a chef”.
YCI in Romania is the result of a partnership between the International Business Leaders Forum, the World Vision Romania Foundation and the three participating hotels in Bucharest. World Vision Romania plays the key role of locally coordinating the initiative, including the organisation of the recruitment and selection process of deserving candidates, the monitoring and tracking of students, and the provision of support to the hotels in order to ensure the delivery of the programme in a consistent manner according to core global standards of operations.
What is impressive about YCI is the alignment of fierce business competitors within the very dynamic hotel sector, who pull together their combined training resources and capacity in order to offer a chance to a new generation of young people, and help them to develop a transferable skillset so that they become employable.
In the words of Mr Catalin Popa, National Director of World Vision Romania: “When most people wait upon the government to give them something, we’ve decided to come together in this private initiative to deliver something that no school in the country could dream of doing: the best training in the hotel services industry packed in a 6-month programme combining classroom and practical training in a broad range of disciplines. And we did this because at World Vision we know that investing in educating young people will have greater long-term benefits than any other type of social investment in the area of reducing poverty in Romania.”
As part of the YCI model, participating hotels designate mentors for each of the students in order to provide the necessary support and advice during the training experience. In this regard, Mr Yilmaz Yildirimlar, General Manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Bucharest highlighted that:
“At the beginning of the YCI program, a mentor from the executive team of the hotel was assigned to each of the 6 students of our hotel. It was a rewarding experience for both students and mentors; while the youngsters came with a fresh eye and many questions, their mentors guided them and throughout the journey they learned from their mentees as well.“
The fourth year of YCI in Romania is set to start in 2013 with a new group of students to be placed across four participating hotels, with the InterContinental Bucharest joining Athénée Palace Hilton, JW Marriott and Radisson Blu for YCI’s next training cycle.
Graduates of the 2012 programme cycle in Bucharest