UBT-Centre of Expertise for Hospitality and Tourism (CoE H&T)
UBT had establishing the Centre of Expertise for Hospitality and Tourism (CoE H&T) in order to build capacity and increase employment of the labor force within the private sector, with a special focus on youth and gender in order to fill the gap in the lack of qualified staff with qualified staff in the Hospitality and Tourism sector. This has been an ambition of UBT since it first engaged PUM Netherlands Senior Experts in February 2013 to carry out a feasibility study for the potential of such a centre in Kosovo and the need for more qualified professionals in H&T were identified.
For this purpose, the UBT is establishing and will host the CoE H&T Hotel School at the Innovation Campus in Lipjan, with facilities to accommodate guests (hotel rooms), restaurants for guests and staff, as well as for students (two restaurants), front office and back office reception area, and a wellness area with indoor pool. All in all, a complete hotel to host guests, and more importantly, to cater for practical, on-the-job training of participants enrolled in one of the hospitality programs on offer.
The service portfolio will include a broad range of capacity building programs: from very specific and practical short courses for kitchen staff, e.g. HACCP, to apprenticeship based training. The apprenticeship, or dual-system based training, will include four components: the introductory or theoretical component; the in-house practical training component which means on-the-job training in the CoE H&T Hotel School, and the on-the-job training component within the (sponsoring) company; and assisting with job placement of qualified professionals through pre-arrangements with H&T companies, business associations, and the existing UBT Career Centre.
The CoE H&T Hotel School will have all necessary hotel facilities hence all necessary training facilities for practical training: the hotel rooms for housekeeping; the front office for front desk training; the restaurants and lounge for kitchen training and servicing (waiting) guests, et cet. This is a unique opportunity to have all hotel operations executed by trainees, supervised and trained on-the-job by experienced trainers. Hence, all participants will also be ‘engaged’ as staff and will fulfil their duties on a full-time basis. The capacity building programs will vary in duration and scheduling (of the various components) depending on the learning outcomes required. The engagement of the industry, current hospitality companies, is essential and for this purpose the CoE H&T Hotel School has established a task force with industry representatives to ensure the active participation of the sector. This concept goes beyond existing and applied hospitality and tourism training models in Kosovo. The CoE H&T Hotel School stands to be front runner / role model in H&T training not only in Kosovo, but the entire region.
The CoE H&T Hotel School will provide certificate and diploma-level of competence, as well as demand driven (short) courses. A system of recognition of prior learning (RPL or APL) will be developed to facilitate tailor-made competency programs for those with specific working experience yet without a formal certification (under qualified). All capacities will be developed based on international standards as applied by high-end international hospitality service providers and as required by international companies and, most importantly, international guests.
Construction of the new CoE H&T Hotel School with demonstration and production kitchen and restaurants on the UBT Innovation Campus in Lipjan are in progress and specific to this projectThe UBT initiative for CoE H&T has been warmly welcomed by various stakeholders in the field – such as hotel owners/managers, tour operators and travel agencies, the Kosovo Alternative Tourism Association, and the DMO of Western Kosovo – from when the concept was first introduced in 2013 until now as no other training centers in Kosovo (for example, Qendra e Kompetences – Prizren and Qendra Italiane e Aftesimit Professional As Consulting – Prishtinë) offer in-house practical, on-the-job training in a real-life setting, with real guests and clients, nor pre-agreements for job placement opportunities.
The UBT Centre of Expertise for Hospitality and Tourism (CoE H&T) is a unique opportunity for Kosovo stakeholders aiming as practical skills development in close cooperation with the private sector. It is unique because unlike other VET schools in Kosovo which includes only in-school theoretical, the CoE H&T Hotel School offers, besides other courses, apprenticeship or dual-system based training, which implies mainly practical real-life work experience based on engagement, agreements and partnerships with the sector (companies). And, in addition to that, the CoE H&T Hotel School will offer tailor-made professional development courses for under-qualified sector employees based on the Recognition of Prior Learning Approach (RPL, also known as APL: Acknowledgement of Prior Learning). So in essence, the CoE H&T is to be completely demand driven with practical in-house/in-company training and qualification oriented leading to certificates and job placements as a result of pre-agreements with businesses.