Leaders at Marriott International Fiji Hotels are working together with locals to foster Fijian talent development and close employment gaps within the industry.

The Marriott International Fiji Hotels leadership team presented an inaugural workshop last week with senior government officials that included representatives from the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association, Bureau of Statistics, and key leaders of major training institutions including Fiji National University.

The Fiji Marriott Training Academy (FMTA), which was established in December 2021 and encompasses the three FNPF (Fiji National Provident Fund) owned resorts, remains a central part of discussions.

Marriott International Multi-Property Vice President Pacific Islands, and Sheraton and Westin Resorts – Fiji Complex, General Manager, Neeraj Chadha, said talent constraints continue to be a major challenge for the industry at every level.

“The Academy provides the intermediate solution to recruit local talent that are progressed through an intense 8-week training program before deployment across the four operational resorts,” Chadha said.

“More than 200 trainees have been trained through the various streams and to date, 188 are currently employed across all our resorts.”

Discussions also pinpointed the need for “better linkages between portfolios and the realignment of training programs to meet specific market demands of the service sector, and the integration of learning modern workforce applications”.

“Theoretically, educational and training institutions will necessitate input and collaboration from industry consultants to identify areas of improvement within student curriculum including the adoption of competency-based learning methodologies,” said Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Selina Kuruleca.

“Consequently, the development of an accelerated program for graduates emerging from formal education to complement the FMTA model would be a great way to test the effectiveness of the linkages.”