A school has opened in Siem Reap to train young Cambodians for work in the hotel and tourism industries, provincial officials said.
The $1.5 million school, 3 km from Siem Reap town on National Route 6, was funded by Frenchman Paul Dubrule, co-founder of the Accor Group, which operates 5,000 hotels worldwide, said Kim Chhay Hieng, first deputy director of the provincial Tourism Department. The school’s first term began late last year, he said.
The school offers training for specific professions at different levels of expertise.
The first category includes careers such as receptionist, doorman, cashier and travel agent. A four-month term’s tuition in these areas costs about $250, Kim Chhay Hieng said.
The second tier covers waiters, housekeepers, cooks and launderers and costs $400 for a six-month term. The third level is a course in hotel management, which costs $550 for a one-year course.
The school is currently training 120 students. Applications for the second term are due Feb 18, Kim Chhay Hieng said.
Dubrule has made a hobby of bicycling around the globe, and last year he made a seven-month, 17,000-km ride from France to Cambodia, arriving on Oct 18, Kim Chhay Hieng said.
Dubrule says he became smitten with Cambodia and funded the school as a gift to King Norodom Sihanouk.
The school is run by five French nationals and several provincial officials. All the first-term students expect to be qualified for jobs when they finish their training, Kim Chhay Hieng said.
The school fills an important need in Cambodia’s fast-growing tourism sector, said Sam Heang, president of the Siem Reap Hotel Association.
“This is a wonderful school for our young people here,” Sam Heang said. “I have seen the way they teach and it is very professional…. These young people are much needed by the hotel and tourism industry,” he said.
Included in the school’s fees are uniforms and lunches for the students. It is also offering 13 scholarships each term for poor applicants. Kim Chhay Hieng said tourism professionals can expect to earn anywhere from $300 to $1,200 per month, depending on the job.