Sweden Funds Hospitality Sector In Cambodia

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Last week the Embassy of Sweden signed an agreement with the Shift360 Foundation to provide funding to support the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia (ACAC) to train young people in the culinary career and improve the quality of the Cambodia’s hospitality sector.

This three-year project, which is worth over 3.1 million US dollars, will provide the hospitality industry in Cambodia with qualified, trained and certified culinary professionals through high quality and innovative educational programs.

“A fast-growing number of youth joining Cambodia’s labour market is finding it difficult to get the good jobs for lack of appropriate skills. Employers in the hospitality sector are turning to skilled workers from elsewhere in the region to fill the void. This skill gap among Cambodian workers reflects the lack of appropriate high-quality vocational and technical training institutions,” said Mr. Pierre Tami, CEO of the Shift360 Foundation.

“The objective of ACAC is to contribute to skills development and employment opportunities for Cambodian youth by establishing an international standard school that will meet the ASEAN Minimum Competency Standard for tourism as well as the Swiss Standards for culinary education,” Mr. Tami continued.

With accreditation through the Swiss Hotel Management Academy Lucerne (SHL), the ACAC is a truly international institution. Private sector partnerships with R.A.K. Porcelain, LSH Food Supplies and Chicco Doro Coffee are important connections to the private sector, and the relationship with the ACAC’s campus building owner, who allow use of the property rent-free, is invaluable.

Cambodia faces increased competition in the tourism sector both regionally and globally. Demand for highly skilled labour in the culinary and hospitality sector remains high, and Cambodia experienced an increase in tourism in 2017 and new developments in the hotel sector are on the way in 2018. ACAC is a new hospitality training institute established by the Royal Government of Cambodia as a public private partnership to deal with rapid growth of tourism industry in the country. It is the first culinary academy in Cambodia with an international hospitality curriculum that aligns with ASEAN and Swiss standards.

Since the Academy opened its doors in March 2017, it has become an institution for all. The Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund provides the opportunity for students with financial need, to study tuition-free at the Academy, thereby accessing education and improving their lives. The opportunity to gain internationally-recognized training in hospitality is opening the doors for young Cambodians. In September two ACAC students, one of whom is on scholarship through Shift360’s Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund, will have the opportunity to travel to Switzerland for one month to gain new hands-own skills in Europe, and participate in an event with a Michelin-star chef.

“Access to education is one of the main focused areas for Sweden’s aid in Cambodia. Skills development in the hospitality sector in Cambodia are of high importance for future growth and prosperity of the country and its people,” Samuel Hurtig, Sweden’s Head of Development Program. “We are delighted to support the ACAC to train Cambodian youth with improved skill and knowledge of hospitality.”