Nine persons with disabilities (PWDs) have successfully completed Hospitality Services training facilitated by the one of the country’s premier hotel, the Makati Shangri-La. The training which started in the last week of October and lasted for about five weeks is another partnership project between said hotel and the Economic Empowerment (EE) Programme of the Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation, Inc. (LCDPF).
The participants were mostly people with orthopedic impairments, who were assigned to render 320 hours of training at various departments such as engineering, cashiering, restaurant services and Information Technology. All of them had previous employments unrelated to hotel services. Nestor Mejia, Makati Shangri-La’s Training Manager said that they did not want to put the PWDs into traditional positions but rather place them into different areas that will challenge people’s viewpoint towards what PWDs can do.
The graduation took place in December 20, 2010 at the hotel’s training room. It was attended by the 9 trainees, the EE Programme Team composed of Grace Cabrera, Programme OIC, Dexter Tiro Job Placement officer and headed by the LCDPF National Coordinator Richard Arceno. Nestor Mejia was also present joined by Au Aceveda, the hotel’s Assistant Director for Human Resources representing the hotel management.
Even before this partnership came to be, Makati Shangri-la has been employing PWDs already through a partnership that they had previously established by the School of Deaf and Applied Studies (SDEAS) of the DeLa Salle College of St. Benilde. They started training 20 deaf graduates who proved to be as efficient as non-PWD workers, and eventually Makati Shangri-La employed seven of them who were rated well by their training supervisors.
Richard Arceno, in his brief congratulatory speech applauded the participants while stressing the importance of gaining the right skills for a particular job especially for a PWD whose ability are often overlooked by employers. He also thanked the hotel’s management for being proactive and enthusiastic for the project. LCDPF supported the trainees thru transportation assistance and continuous career/employment guidance facilitated primarily by the EE Programme Team.
Ariel Morial, an orthopedically impaired participant was very happy that he was given a chance to participate in the training which helped him improve his skills at work. He joins the rest of the trainees in hoping that they get to be hired by the hotel. The training was meant to fill-in the hotel’s manpower requirement that 2% of their workforce is comprised of PWDs as part of their CSR policy. Presently, the hotel is looking for four more PWDs to join their manpower resource and the four best rated participants in this training shall automatically fill-in this requirement. Mejia assures that before the month ends, four of the successful participants will be absorbed by the Management for regular employment.
A Memorandum of Agreement was signed by both parties to ensure that a continuous partnership for training more PWDs and creating more employment opportunities for them is established between LCDPF and the Makati Shangri-La.
Mejia said that they definitely would want to see the program rolled to other hotels and that they take note what we Shagri-La has been doing to realize that PWDs are valuable resource and they add to the diversity of any workforce.
“This will be a long term partnership, we want to train more PWDs, have more PWD customers and for our employees to have a better understanding of the PWD culture,” Mejia concluded.