A unique programme to train underprivileged women from urban areas to help them find employment in the hospitality industry was launched earlier this week by Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi.

The Le Meridien hotel here, in partnership with Joining Hands, an NGO, has undertaken this pilot initiative to equip underprivileged women with the necessary skills to get jobs in the hospitality industry.

Applauding the Le Meridien’s initiative at the launch of the programme, Maneka Gandhi said, “We need to think out-of-the-box and this is an out-of-the-box initiative which would open a plethora of opportunities for them once they have undertaken this programme.”

As part of the six-month course, starting 15 July, a group of 25 selected candidates would be put through a fast-track course designed by the hotel. They would be trained in areas like front office, housekeeping, food and beverages, food and beverages production, beauty and spa, along with other ancillary departments. They would be trained at a centre at Badarpur here. Once in, every candidate would have the opportunity to intern in the hotel for on-the-job experience.

Charanjit Singh, CEO, Le Meridien, said, “The inspiration for this had come to me after reading several reports on how women are ill-treated in our society. We decided to help some underprivileged women who want to make a career in this industry. Therefore, we have launched this unique programme to help these women.”

Sushila Verma from Joining Hands said that candidates would be selected from the urban poor class, adding that their minimum qualification should be 10th standard pass. The candidates will be charged a nominal fee of Rs 300 every month, while all other costs would be borne by the hotel.

“Even after education, many women are not able to get the right kind of job because of the lack of communication, lack of confidence and grooming. This programme would help them build all such skills and make them confident for jobs in the hospitality industry like in hotels,” Verma said.

Samiksha, a selected candidate, who had come for the launch of the programme, told The Sunday Guardian:  “I was very excited when I heard about this opportunity and thus I joined. I would want to work in the front office as I would get to meet and interact with many new people. I would work hard to get a job here.”

Meena Bhatia, vice-president, Marketing and Operations, said, “This project has been launched as a pilot project and we would be able to learn from our shortcomings from the first batch itself and plug the loopholes over time. We would not be looking at the size of the batch, but quality would be the criteria.” The hotel has also decided to absorb most of the trained candidates and help the others get placed in the industry.


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