Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Supporting career planning for hospitality students

7 Apr 2019

As part of USAID BEST efforts to increase the number of tourism ventures in Jordan and to support the growth and sustainability of existing tourism start-ups, a career planning and entrepreneurship session was held at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) for students set to graduate soon. The event was held in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan Investment Commission, Micro-Fund for Women, and the Development and Employment Fund, with the added involvement of Bank al-Etihad and Safwa Islamic Bank.

Around 50 soon-to-be RACA graduates attended the session, which gave a broad overview of the tourism sector in Jordan, available investment incentives and existing lending programs for projects and startups with the intent of demonstrating the options and opportunities in opening their own businesses.

“One of the things I changed my expectations on in coming to the session was that being a RACA student doesn’t guarantee me a successful career ahead of anyone currently working in the sector, and that you need to plan smart and work hard to get where you want to go,” said attending student Basil Bashir. He added, “The speakers today were really trying to help us be informed of things like incentives and taxes for businesses and succeed in bringing new ideas to the market.”

The session covered next steps for graduates in terms of career planning to make attendees more awareness of their own progression and actions. The students were advised to ensure career goals were realistically attainable, measurable in terms of milestones and progress, relevant to their overall aspirations, and time-specific to help prioritization and to provide motivation.

According to Farah Al Sheikh, RACA’s Student Careers and Placement Officer, “The workshop was timely for our graduating students in getting them to think and plan their moves following graduation. This is the time when they should be looking at the next steps to take, and whether they already had specific goals in mind, the session gave them a framework towards what they might want to do.”

The students also learned needed skills and information such as how to write a CV and cover letter, expectations of employers, how interviews are conducted, and the pros and cons of working in short-term jobs or traveling abroad for work.

Former RACA graduate Samara Abu Hisham shared her personal story at the workshop, walking the students through her career growth since entering the workforce in 2016 and how she progressed from an internship and freelancing to becoming an executive chef at the OGGI Cafe.

“It’s important to remind the students that a lot can happen from the little things you do,” noted Samara, who advised that, “It’s those little things that can shape your career without you even realizing it.”     

USAID BEST will continue to partner with hospitality and tourism universities around Jordan to encourage upcoming and recent graduates to create tourism ventures that interest them and give them the tools to do so.