Bahrain Institute for Hospitality and Retail is changing the current hospitality sector scenario in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The chairman of the organization Mr. Qutub Dadabai shared with Bahrain This Week, the history of the organization and the milestones they have achieved.
How did you come across the idea of starting the Hospitality educational institution?
BIHR came into existence because we as an employer were not able to find qualified nationals to recruit for our own hotels in Bahrain. We tried to identify the qualified workforce even from outside Bahrain with no concrete result. From that perspective we decided that we will start an in-house training center which specializes in training the nationals in hospitality sector.This initiative was also our way of giving back to the society. I have to mention that we were also greatly supported by Sir Lord Ghulam Noon who was also actually quite instrumental in getting us international certifications form UK on board for our programs.
Can we have a quick glance at the journey of BIHR so far?
We started our operations 15 years ago in July 1999 with 4 class rooms, 3 instructors and 48 students with the support of Ministry of Labor. Since then we have grown to more than 25 classrooms, a group of 40 qualified staff and have trained and gainfully employed 8000 students in hospitality sector. Our concept was extremely simple that all our Bahraini students get a job in this industry, if in the event they did not get a job or in event of drop-out, we do not take the money back from the Government. Our idea was to create a 100% ROI (return of investment) for the Government, students and employer, this concept was a win-win situation for all. Also, we probably were the first institution in Bahrain to bring the idea of earn while you learn system, where we use to pay the student a stipend of BD 100 per month. The same was linked with the performance and attendance of the students during the academic and internship period. We also spend on uniforms, transportations, certification etc. all covered under the tuition fees for the students. We always made sure that all our graduating students had a minimum of 3 job opportunities on graduating.
How the tie-up with HTMi going to help the cause of Bahrainis? Can we expect tutors from Top Swiss Hotel school to be soon here in Bahrain?
Our aim to bring HTMi is very simple, we have trained a lot of people in entry level, but through HTMi we will be able train them at an international level. Our Academic Dean and faculties are all Swiss trained, our curriculum and exam papers will all be coming from Switzerland. We will also be having a an Academic Auditor coming from HTMi atleast 3 -4 times a year and it is also mandatory that all our new staff to be trained by HTMi. With this tie-up all our students who will finish the Diploma programs in Bahrain can continue their studies within HTMi Switzerland or go anywhere in the world to finish the Bachelor’s program. We have invested quite a substantial amount of money on upgrading our infrastructure to meet the HTMi standard which includes kitchen equipment, food and beverage service, commercial training restaurant run by student etc. As per the HTMi standard, all our students also need to carry a laptop and the entire system will be online.Eventually we will also be providing them with iPad.
Is it true that the classes are going to be absolutely free of cost for the Bahrain National students? Is there any selection process or criteria for enrolment?
We do work with Specific Council of Training and Hospitality and they do have certain allocation of number of students based on the fund to educate them in the hospitality sector. SelectedBahrain Students will be given free allocation, but for other students it will be on payable basis. We also have very strict criteria for enrolment of the students under the HTMi program, which includes the test of English knowledge and the attitudeto enter into this industry.
What about the Expat diaspora?
This will be a great opportunity for expatriate based in Bahrain as well as Saudi Arabia to come and study with us. Having a multicultural classroom makes big difference to learning and working environment and Bahraini students can also benefit out of it. Our aim is not only to enroll Expat students from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but also from the entire region including the Asian subcontinent.
How do you think this will support the economy of the Kingdom?
Hospitality industry is one of the largest industries in the world and of course it is a fast growing industry in this region. As the industry grows it will require more and more manpower to accommodate. We have about 20 new hotels coming up in next 3 years along with many fast-food outlets like McDonalds, Hardees etc. opening up all over the region. So there are lots of opportunities for Bahraini Nationals as well as expats to work and grow along with this industry.
You are now bringing the Swiss hospitality experience to Bahrain, what is the next in line from BIHR?
Our biggest plan naturally is to get our student job opportunities within the Gulf region once they graduate from HTMi. Our student should not only get the job experiences in Bahrain only, but also in other places like Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia where there are lots of opportunities available for hospitality graduates. We really feel that once they come back to Bahrain after a year or two they will be in a position to demand a better pay package in Bahrain with all this experience.
Our mission is to become a regional institute from the local institute by providing great career growth opportunities to our students.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION:
– Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding Educator (International) in 2009 by AHLEI
– Quality Assurance Authority (QAA) giving us Grade ‘A’ in the quality inspection
– “Best 5 Institutes” in Bahrain by Ministry of Labour
– ISO certified institute and first private institute in Bahrain
– “Best Website Award” in the learning and education category