For many young Cambodians, the prospect of working in a luxury hotel is a dream to aspire to. Yet many have never even seen a hotel, let alone stepped inside.
Salariin Kampuchea runs Life Skills classes for their students where they learn about the job industry and the skills they will need to navigate it successfully. Part of our curriculum includes field trips to local businesses where students can see how the skills they are learning will be used in reality. Our most recent visit was on Saturday, July 9th. Salariin Kampuchea’s Life Skills classes traveled to the Pacific Hotel to find out what opportunities their hard work can earn them.
Ms. Sokharoth, Pacific Hotel’s Human Resources manager, was our guide for the afternoon. She started our tour in the Grand Ballroom where students learned about the functions that are held there. The hotel hosts everything from stately business gatherings, to welcoming family reunions. We then climbed three flights of stairs to inspect a Colonial Room. The beautiful view of the luxurious pool drew much attention.
The Deluxe Room provided the perfect location for the first question and answer session. Although overwhelmed at first, the students soon found their voices and had many questions. The focus of the questions centred around the inner workings of the hotel. The hotel currently has 236 rooms and 190 staff performing roles from reception to catering. Although it already has a four star rating, the Pacific Hotel has its sights set on moving up to a 5 star rating. They also plan on adding more rooms to reach a total of over 500. These high-aspiring goals mean prospects for future employment are enticing. The hotel also has a nightly band playing by the pool – what more could you ask for?
Students discovered that English skills were essential for front of house roles (such as the reception desk and concierge). However, not all roles require English proficiency. If a staff member learns English, or further diversifies their skills, there is room to change paths within the company. Computer skills are also held in high esteem for many roles. Above all, professionalism is a key employee trait.
The beautiful pool provided the perfect backdrop for an impromptu photo session. Students and teachers alike took pictures to keep as momentos. After the students had taken all the photos they needed, Ms. Sokharoth took another opportunity to let the students ask additional questions. She told them the specific details about working conditions at Pacific Hotel.18 days of annual leave, health insurance as well as an included lunch were just some of the perks of the job. Even the Australian and American volunteers were considering applying!
With rain clouds looming overhead, the final stop of the day was in front of the grand facade of the Pacific Hotel for a very quick photo shoot. Thankfully, we had just enough time to get a few shots before the rain started pouring down and everyone ran for cover!
Visiting the Pacific Hotel was an eye opening experience for our students. Both SK and Pacific have recognized that it is essential that we equip our next generation with the tools they need to successfully start their career. In order to achieve this, we need to teach our students how to be a good employee. However, we also need to teach our students how to find and apply for jobs in industries outside of those they have been previously exposed to by friends and family members.
To provide this exposure, Salariin Kampuchea sends their Life Skills classes to the Pacific Hotel every year. Here, students learn from those in the industry how the career abilities and aptitudes they have gained are used in practice. In addition, the hotel offers students the opportunity to engage in short term work placements. This opportunity is invaluable to many of our students who have limited contacts within the industries they desire to get work. Furthermore, just like anywhere in the world, building up a portfolio of work history is essential to develop a diverse range of skills. Hopefully, this will give Salariin Kampuchea’s students the edge they need when applying for work.
Although visiting the Pacific Hotel was first and foremost a practical visit, it was also a fun day out where students were able to socialize and share this new and exciting experience.. Their questions were intelligent, their behavior respectful, and their minds engaged in learning about the hotel business. Without this behind-the-scenes tour of Pacific Hotel, our students would not be as well informed and inspired by their career prospects as they are now! For providing this opportunity at making career exploration fun, we would like to thank Pacific Hotel and we look forward to working with them into the future.