Institute of Hospitality Promotes Training In Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria-based members of the Institute of Hospitality, and their guests, attended a seminar last month at the Westown Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.  The event was hosted by Senator Tokunbo (“Toks”) Afikuyomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Trevor Ward FIH, the Institute’s Lagos-based Ambassador for Africa.

lagos_city_scene_nigeriaDelegates heard from two speakers: Peter Pedersen, the opening General Manager for the InterContinental Hotel Lagos, and Belinda Nwosu MIH, Lecturer at Wavecrest College of Hospitality in Lagos.

The seminar occurred at a time of massive change in the Lagos hotel market, a market which has seen very little new supply during the last 20 years but which has, since 2008, witnessed a large number of hotels opening and under construction, with the potential for the number of rooms to double, or even triple, in the next five years.  The already difficult labour market is therefore set to become even more of a challenge.

Peter Pederson stressed the need not only for academic training and certification of Nigerian managers, which is extremely important, but also the need for them to have the right attitude, to prove that they want to, and can, excel in their job.

Further, he said that it was really important for Nigerian managers to gain international experience, which a chain like IHG could provide.  And he also made the point that gaining international exposure, both with international chains operating in Nigeria, and also working for them in other countries, would expose nationals to international business practices and ethics.

Belinda Nwosu explained that the structure and image of the Nigerian hotel industry had, in general, mitigated against attracting the right talent to the sector.  Many staff came from low-income backgrounds, seeing the industry as a last resort because of a lack of education and qualifications, which would otherwise have taken them into more “respectable” professions.  Hotel owners’ lack of knowledge of good practice meant that conditions for staff in some hotels were very poor, perpetuating the industry as a poor choice.  

Belinda made a plea for more training schools at craft level, for hotel owners to provide proper career paths for their staff, and for managers to embrace the concept of CPD as an essential part of their working life.

The keynote address was delivered by the Deputy Rector of Lagos State Polytechnic, Olasunkanmi Longe on behalf of the Rector, whilst discussion panellists were David Church, Managing Director of Thornberry Africa, South Africa and Bola Jaiyeola, the President and Chairman of Council of the Nigerian Hotel & Catering Institute.

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