Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Creating career opportunities through work-based training and certification

26 Jan 2020

In 2016, USAID BEST worked with partners to introduce Pathways to Professionalism, an on-the-job training program for Jordan’s hotels that responds to the challenges within Jordan’s hospitality industry in employing skilled workers. The program was piloted through the Intercontinental Hotels Group, after which it was officially launched later in 2016 in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The program expanded to 4- and 5-star hotels around the country, and in April 2019 the Jordan Hotels Association took over management of the program.

By early 2020, 32 leading hotels in Jordan have adopted Pathways to Professionalism and more than 1,100 employees have been certified through the program, which is nationally recognized through the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and Jordan Hotels Association, and internationally recognized through the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (Paris). Of those certified, 17 percent are women. This exceeds the national proportion of women employed in the tourism sector, which is 11 percent. 

“As the hospitality industry expands in Jordan, more new hotels are opening, and thousands of job opportunities are being created,” said Mr. Vatche Yergatian, General Manager of the Jordan Hotels Association, who explained that “Pathways to Professionalism has the ability to help fill that demand and the Jordan Hotels Association is committed to supporting the industry to fill the demand. Thus, the JHA has assumed management of Pathways for the future.” 

The program offers on-the-job training for hotel employees in eight professions: bakery & pastry, concierge, food production, food & beverage, front office, housekeeping, laundry and stewarding. It offers four levels of training, from entry-level (for those who have no experience in hospitality work) to Level 4 for management staff. Pathways to Professionalism seeks to enhance qualifications of hotel staff and improve service quality and standards in hotels.

“Much of the demand for staff in Jordan relates to higher-responsibility roles in front-line, supervisory and management levels,” noted Mr. Yergatian. “In this, Pathways is uniquely equipped to provide hotels with in-house training that could elevate candidates for higher level positions from within and offer career progression as a certainty for Pathways-partnered hotels.”

Pathways hotels have invested approximately USD 21,000,000 in improving the professionalism and skills capacity of their employees to deliver improved services to guests and tourists. Hotels have also invested more than half a million hours in upskill and multi-skill training in the workplace, at an average 520 hours per graduate.

This degree of investment into Pathways to Professionalism is a testament to the program’s success in addressing industry needs, and it’s competency in training youth in current requirements and skills.