ASSET-H&C’s Second Online Get-Together: Exchanging Successful Approaches and Challenges in “Recruiting New Students”
May 30, 2023

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It has been a tangible challenge for many tourism & hospitality vocational schools: young people seem less interested in a career in hospitality after the pandemic. Several ASSET-H&C member schools simply receive fewer applications and from young people that might not be the best fit for the schools’ criteria.  

How can schools rebuild trusted relations with communities and families? What activities and together with whom do schools need to work to reach more potential students for our programs? These questions have been raised and discussed in our recent Online Get Together #2.   

The 1-hour session started with an open sharing by participants, who are managers and trainers, on their inspiration for  joining the hospitality industry. The answers are honest, diverse, yet inspiring: a love for travelling, having fun and meeting new people. 

 

 

With insights and sharing from school directors of Sala Baï Hotel & Restaurant School and SPOONS Cambodia Organization, more interesting inputs from participants on their challenges, best practices and ideas have been shared in the open breakout rooms. Let’s take a closer look at their insights.  

  

RECRUITMENT ACTIVITIES  

Sala Baï Hotel & Restaurant School is one of the schools with a great training capability of 150 students every year. To fill these positions, Mr. Renauld Ficher, School Director, shared a few activities that the team have been proactively conducting to attract applicants.  

  • Direct Recruitment in Communities with a school presentation and application form offered on the spot. This has been the most effective approach so far!  
  • Facebook Recruitment via Posts & Events to increase reach, but it does not translate into many actual applications.  
  • NGO Fair: The school invited relevant NGOs to the school for a school tour and present them about the schools so that they can help reach out to their beneficiaries.  
  • Radio and Media Advertisement: This activity is quite traditional and passive because the school cannot really measure its effectiveness.   
  • Referrals from Alumni Network: It is a good approach to get alumni involved in the recruitment effort. They can help the school identify potential students around them and be ambassadors who explain and inspire about the career and the schools to the newbies.   

  

RELATIONS WITH COMMUNITIES   

A few more activities making use of stakeholders’ engagement have been added by Ms Sophany Mao, Director of SPOONS Cambodia Organization.  

  • Relationship with Authorities: The school works closely with the Department of Tourism and expands its network to remote communities through the connection with local departments.  
  • Collaboration with EcoTourism agencies who know the region and the families well enough to spread the word so that poorer populations know about the option to send their children to our schools, and the potential of bringing their family into tourism & hospitality.  
  • Relationship with the Education Department & High schools to have a list of students dropping out of school because of difficult circumstances and introduce them to the program.   

  

ONLINE TOOL UTILISATION  

Although each country has a different leading social media platform, schools find online tools to be one of the most effective ways to communicate about the programs in general and recruitment in specific. Schools use Facebook to connect and stay in contact with students and alumni. Content made by students is often more authentic and vivid, as such, the school gets more social media followers throughout the year; nevertheless, the use of social media by students needs guidance from the schools. 

LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a very good tool for partnership and recruitment of staff and upper-level students (managers) that many member schools like  SPOONS Cambodia wish to invest more into.  

Livestreams of offline events and activities are proven by the schools to not be as effective yet require a lot of effort from the team. 

  

BUILDING TRUST WITH FAMILIES  

At SPOONS, the first question parents always ask the school is “Will you guarantee a job for the kid after graduation?”. “However, securing jobs for 100% alumni is not a promise the school can make – it also depends on the students themselves”, shared Sophany.   

Not making false promises to their families is important in building trust and setting expectations. 

Concrete numbers of alumni give parents a clearer idea of what the future holds for their children and thus decide if sending their children to the school is a good investment or not. Schools wishing to develop an alumni monitoring and evaluation system, please find more insights at our Get-Together #1 and request for 1-1 support from our team. 

When the youth have already joined the training program, it is interesting to learn that some schools maintain ties with their families. It is also a way to inspire other youth to join the training.  According to several member schools, getting alumni involved in recruitment is one of the most effective ways to attract potential candidates that fit the criteria, and with less effort.   

  

GET-TOGETHER #3

To continue this series, the 3rd Get Together focuses on how to find and select the right students for our member schools, which will be organized on the 7th of June 2023.

For more information or for practical insights from ASSET-H&C’s 13 member schools across Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, follow us on our social media or bookmark this website. 

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