Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Lead From the Top

Oftentimes we focus on the people who directly benefit from programs such as the Pathways to Professionalism scheme (PTP) and forget about the ones who work behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. Ola Khalifeh has been the Human Resources & Training Coordinator at the InterContinental Amman hotel for the past two years and has seen the learners she supervises grow significantly since she was trained as a Pathways Coordinator.

“Part of what I do is organizing PTP by working with the department leaders,” said Ms. Khalifeh, explaining that, “I facilitate teamwork among them and guide them on how to communicate to the learners.” 
Ms. Khalifeh always knew she would find a career in the communications field in some capacity. “I previously held a position at the Rotana Hotel in training and soon transitioned to Human Resources and Training at InterContinental Amman hotel where I enjoy informing all employees about the benefits of Pathways and encourage them to enroll.” 
Pathways responds to current challenges faced by hospitality and tourism employers in Jordan by enhancing professionalism and improving standards at hotels through on-the-job training to employees in food and beverage services, food production and housekeeping. 
USAID BEST supports the Vocational Training Corporation and Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to implement PTP, and provides training for administrative staff as coordinators, master and departmental trainers and internal examiners. 
Susan Bunz, who works alongside Ms. Khalifeh as the Area Director of Human Resources of InterContinental Jordan, said, “The beauty of the hospitality industry is serving people and being able to impact the lives of our employees in a positive way. This is what I enjoy most about our work.” Both Khalifeh and Bunz see similar outcomes of Pathways for their learners. “On-the-job training as opposed to standard training methods seems to boost confidence of the learner’s ability to perform because they are training directly in their work stations,” said Ms. Khalifeh.
Ms. Bunz explained that, “The overall impact is increased motivation and productivity.” To date, five learners have graduated from Pathways at the InterContinental hotel in Amman and many others ae still enrolled. Ms. Bunz emphasized that, “Only with well-educated and trained employees will the tourism and hospitality sector of Jordan excel in the future.”
Work is ongoing at the administrative level to equip trainers with the skills needed to train learners and implement the scheme under well-trained leaders like Ms. Khalifeh and Ms. Bunz.