For the longest time, the local workforce has sidelined the hotel industry in Kuwait. Young Kuwaitis don’t usually pursue a career as an hotelier, until recently. There are many facets to the hotel industry that make a career choice in this path an always-challenging one. A Hotel’s atmosphere is always bustling, with new guests, new challenges and new opportunities. Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa has taken the initiative of assisting young students in the collegiate, university and institute levels gain valuable professional experience during their spare time. By providing on-the-job training internships, the hotel helps in developing students’ future careers and building their self-confidence in the work place.
Earlier this year, The Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa partnered up with LOYAC, a nonprofit organization working towards the overall development and personal growth of the youth of age 6 – 28 years, by providing four students with a life changing opportunity. From the 11th of January and up until the 11th of March, the four students took up internship positions throughout the hotel, from the Front Office, PR & Marketing department, Conference & Events department to the Sinbad’s Kids Club.
The overall objectives of the internship program are to provide short-term work experiences with emphasis on hands-on learning, create challenging learning environment for the students, and motivate them while giving constructive feedback. To compile the same, Jumeirah Messilah Beach prepared a full training plan for the interns that included the competencies to be learned, the colleagues who will train them, and the timeframe with a full comprehensive orientation session.
After a carefully planned out role allocation process with the Hotel’s Human Resources department, 18-year-old Alya Al Shahetawy found herself most compelled to take on a role at the hotel’s Front Office. Alya loved the idea of meeting new guests, handling the check-in and check-out processes, responding to their general inquiring as well as offering her knowledge about the hotel’s facilities and services. She said, “I loved being able to communicate with the hotel’s guests, I really benefited from this hands-on experience.” While Alya was initially challenged by the fact that she was constantly interacting with different people at all times, she loved that she was able to communicate the hotel’s principles of service in Arabic to the country’s local and regional guests. This showcased the hotel’s special relationship with the local community, as most people regard the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa as a cultural landmark as well as a bespoke resort. Alya definitely recommends this experience to her colleagues, and believes that she would want to pursue a career in the hospitality industry because the position offers a fun environment with different daily experiences.
As for Mohammed Al Bloushi, he opted to spend time and learn more about Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa’s Sales and Marketing division. He dove right into conducting weekly marketing reports, assisting in the development and implementation of the hotel’s social media content as well as participating in the hotel’s marketing campaign plans and photoshoot requests. Mohammed always wanted to learn more about marketing, especially how to better promote different venues and hotel ballrooms. He said, “It was really special to learn more about how to promote a hotel, how to use its website systems, create marketing reports as well as adapting the hotel’s planning mindset in scheduling the weekly social media content.” Mohammed’s favorite part of the entire experience was learning to work with a team, as he appreciated the vibe and spirit of teamwork. He added, “When we worked on the National and Liberation Day video campaign for the hotel, we released 300 balloons in the country’s flag colors in the hotel’s main garden and filmed the entire process from above. It was beautiful!” We finally asked Mohammed about why he would want to become a future hotelier, and his enthusiastic response said it all. “I like that I would always have something new to do. From a promotional campaign, to a branding advertisement, there’s never a dull moment!”
At the hotel’s Sinbad Kid’s Club, 22-year-old Hanan Al Shahetawy found herself. She loved working with parents and their children, showcasing the facility to the guests and organizing as well as participating in the kids’ activities. Hanan was especially fond of the storytelling activity at the club. Always an avid communicator, she honed her skills even further, especially when it came to dealing with a disgruntled child or parent. She said, “What I loved the most about the entire process is befriending the guests. I really recommend to my other Kuwaiti friends to get out of their comfort zone and experience this new type of work.”
Mohammed Al Randi was assigned to the hotel’s Conference & Events department
and was responsible for welcoming and showing guests around the property, upselling meeting and wedding packages, handling phone inquiries regarding events, and booking events for guests.
During the two-month internship program period, each of the four interns completed 120 working hours, with flexibility according to their study schedules. The hotel, upon completion of the required number of hours, then compensated the interns. “What LOYAC has started and established in Kuwait is truly admirable and commendable,” said Hakan Petek, General Manager of the hotel. “By providing the youth in Kuwait with opportunities for personal growth, the chance to experience the joy of service and to develop their professional skills, this program will surely help them find their sense of purpose. “As an integral part of the large community in Kuwait, we strongly believe in supporting such noble and worthy endeavors that help develop the youth into better members of society,” he added. “Therefore, we look forward to further collaborating with them under a similar program in the future.”
For Stella Daskalakis, Director of Human Resources at Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa and Tarek Lutfi, Human Resources Manager, working with the four interns and helping them find a role that suited their different personalities was their first priority. Daskalakis said, “This is the first time that we’ve had LOYAC interns at the hotel, and we wanted to make sure that they leave us with a changed perspective about the hotel and hospitality industry in Kuwait. While the hotel and hospitality industry is not usually seen as a viable career for Kuwaitis, this opportunity with LOYAC allowed us to dispel some of these ideals. We made sure that our interns were challenged and inspired, and in return we were impressed by their wonderful attitude and willingness to work in the different departments, and taking on challenging roles and responsibilities.” Stella further highlighted the importance of encouraging the local workforce, as this is an important priority for the prestigious hospitality group. She said, “Jumeirah Group is focused on improving the lives of the communities in which the hotels operate, and our partnership with LOYAC for this project allowed us to prove that this is a career industry that is always challenging and inspiring. Also, given that our guests are mainly Kuwaiti, having the LOYAC interns on board gave us additional insight into their minds of, how we service them here at the hotel and how we can better meet and exceed their expectations. With the presence of a well educated and well trained local workforce, the hotel experience becomes even more positive for the hotel’s local patrons.”
The Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa is located in Messilah, Al Ta’awun Street, Block 7, Building 13. For more information, please call 2226 9600 or visit Jumeirah.com. Follow their latest updates on Instagram @JumeirahMessilahBeach, Twitter @JumeirahMB and Facebook.com/JumeirahMessilahBeach.