East African safari tours company, Asilia Africa, has launched a new training program in East Africa to help upskill young Kenyans and Tanzanians in the tours and travels industry. The program is funded by a Ksh.10 million (US $100,000) grant from the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU).

The scheme will focus on employees under 35 years of age and will enable them to expand into different hospitality roles. The main aim of the program is to help young people be more resilient to the economic shockwaves caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The program offers the following one-month courses:

  • Junior Professional Waiter – Level 1
  • Junior Beverage Server / Bar – Level 1
  • Junior Chef – Level 1
  • Junior Safari Guide – Level 1
  • Safari Camp Housekeeper – Level 1
  • Assistant Safari Camp Manager – Level 1

Asilia Africa began the trainings in November 2020 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.

The training program 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. This will go along way in career development, as employee training is often based on peer training without a theoretical foundation, therefore the qualifications obtained cannot be transferred to a certificate or diploma, in Africa. This makes it difficult for employees to provide documentation to new employers when they move on in their career.

Gerard Beaton, Asilia’s Director of Operations, said in a statement, “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.”

Throughout the pandemic, Asilia has kept a circuit of camps open in their commitment to employees, communities and conservation. Their contribution to the economy has been notable, as tourism is a crucial pillar of the economy in both Kenya and Tanzania, providing jobs both directly and indirectly and a valuable source of foreign currency.

Commercial Director of Asilia, Gordie Owles comments, “Asilia chose, as COVID 19 struck, to not desert its duties to people, wilderness and wildlife. The results were that many of our teams were forced to learn new skills and adapt to a different way of working. We are very grateful to IFU for further empowering them through more formal learning and incredibly proud of the human growth we have seen through these challenging months.”

A 7-day safari in Kenya with Asilia starts at US$5,450 per person, including 3 nights at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, 3 nights at Rekero and all internal flights from Nairobi.