Asilia Africa launches innovative staff training programme with help from US$100K grant from the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries

Leading East African safari company Asilia Africa has launched a new training programme in East Africa to help upskill young Kenyans and Tanzanians. The program is funded by a US$100,000 grant from the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU). Focusing on employees under the age of 35, the scheme will enable them to cross train into different hospitality roles. The aim of the program is to help young people be more resilient to the economic shockwaves caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The programme enables those already employed in a specific role to train and gain an additional, external qualification in a new role including guiding and camp management.

The programmes began in November and will run over an initial one-month foundation period, where students are educated in theoretical and practical basics of their particular hospitality disciplines by experienced professionals who are working in their disciplines. The remaining 3 to 6 months is intensive practical training where students are coached by a mentor in ‘live’ practical environments amidst paying clients/guests. The students are continually assessed according to a set practical program where daily theoretical and weekly practical assessments are conducted by their mentors and monitored by their trainers.

In Africa, employee training is often based on peer training without a theoretical foundation, therefore the qualifications obtained cannot be transferred to a certificate or diploma. This makes it difficult for employees to provide documentation to new employers when they move on in their career. Consequently, the training programme carried out at Asilia Africa is certified by internationally recognised training institutions within the hospitality and safari guiding sector. All participants will receive a diploma to prove that they have completed a professional training course.

Gerard Beaton, Asilia’s Director of Operations, says: ‘’The shockwaves of COVID-19 have been profound around the world and no less felt in the remote communities and areas we operate. We hope that by offering this training at this time, we can empower our staff and help them to become multi-skilled, and improve their future prospects. We are also excited about the positive effect it will have on the service we are able to offer our guests in camp.’’

Asilia is a leading safari company in East Africa with a footprint of 19 properties across Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar. Employing 700 people, vocational training and upskilling has always been at the heart of the organization. Thirty percent of the staff are from local communities, and 30 percent of all management roles are held by women. The total staff count is 99% from continental Africa, with less than 1 percent from outside of Africa. The 2018-19 year saw nearly 80,000 hours of training, development and upskilling of staff in four key programs: Asilia Assistant Manager Training, Asilia Guide and Walking Guide Training, Asilia Chef Training, and Asilia Waiter/Service Training.