Hospitality and tourism workers to learn remotely through new Olds College initiative
Partnership between Olds College, the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association and the provincial government
Tuesday, Feb 09, 2016 06:00 am
AHLA PRESIDENT AND CEO
Olds College has partnered with the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and the provincial government to produce a series of training videos that will allow front-line hospitality and tourism workers to enhance their skills remotely.
Employees of AHLA members will be able to view them as part of three Olds College hospitality-related programs: accommodation guest services certificate; accommodation management certificate; and tourism business and services management.
The videos can be viewed on mobile devices and include "snippets of our curriculum," said Jason Dewling, the college's vice-president of academics.
The content covers everything from customer service, marketing, restaurant operation and guest experiences, to the best practices for dealing with angry customers.
Assessment is embedded into the videos and will allow users to work toward their certificates without having to be on campus.
"As long as they're doing their assessment in a way that honours the integrity of the curriculum," Dewling said. "There may be some campus experiences or local practicums in their communities where they'll be able to get some of the work experience to complete the full credential."
He adds the training program will also be offered on a dual-credit basis and made available to high school students.
Alberta Culture and Tourism and the AHLA have each contributed $500,000 to the project.
The Pomeroy Inn & Suites hosted the funding announcement on Feb. 3, attended by tourism minister Ricardo Miranda, AHLA president and CEO Dave Kaiser and college president Tom Thompson.
Kaiser said one of the biggest challenge his industry faces is retaining workers. These videos will allow employees across the entire province to build their skills without leaving their jobs.
"We've been so challenged just to fill jobs, to fill roles and positions. To be able to allow people working for you today to leave for an extended period of time just isn't realistic," Kaiser said.
"This can help toward them building credentials in terms of a diploma in the industry as well. It's a very hands-on, practical method and something we've never seen before. For us, it's all about leverage and particularly with technology, being able to do this today."
Dewling estimates there are about 120,000 hospitality and tourism workers in Alberta and fewer than 300 attend post-secondary institutions each year.
The government predicts Alberta's tourism industry will produce more than $10 billion in revenue by 2020.
"This fits into our ability to diversify our economy to put money smartly and incentivize the industry to bring more dollars into the province. So we're very excited about the prospects," Miranda said.