Home LearningExcellence In...Higher Education Dubai College of Tourism to Launch Region’s First Culinary Operations Apprenticeship to Further Elevate Hospitality Excellence

Dubai College of Tourism to Launch Region’s First Culinary Operations Apprenticeship to Further Elevate Hospitality Excellence

by Belinda Breeze

Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), a part of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), and the first-of-its-kind multidisciplinary educational platform in the region, is set to launch the Middle East’s first apprenticeship in Culinary Operations. Anchored by major hotels, the programme is strategically aligned with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33 to further consolidate Dubai’s position as one of top three global cities to invest, live and work in, by elevating its gastronomic offerings.

With the initial intake due to make a start this summer, the new DCT programme aims to develop a highly skilled workforce of culinary arts talents, preparing candidates for entry-level (Commis III) positions while providing valuable opportunities for simultaneous learning and earning. The transformative programme also underpins DCT’s commitment to the D33 agenda by furthering the development of an enhanced ecosystem designed to develop and nurture local talent.

Building on DCT’s commitment to contributing to the growing hospitality sector in the region, the transformative two-year programme will follow the nationally approved Certificate 4 in Culinary Operations curriculum and include a highly practical work-study format delivered in collaboration with industry partners. DCT has welcomed three launch partners for the programme – Gates Hospitality, Hilton, and JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai – with more expected to sign up in the near future.

Essa Bin Hadher, General Manager, Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), commented: “Our goal is to develop a pipeline of skilled entry-level Commis III staff, who will work alongside some of our major industry partners, providing opportunities for talented students to earn and learn simultaneously. The apprenticeship programme aims to provide a new source of recruiting and qualifying talent for the culinary industry and also reflects our dedication to supporting the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the top three global cities.

“The new programme is a ‘first’ and provides us with a template to introduce apprenticeships in other areas. The majority of study – 60 percent – will be on the job, giving students a powerful springboard for the careers ahead of them.”

Apprentices will follow a comprehensive curriculum encompassing gastronomy, business proficiency, safety protocols, critical thinking, and effective communication; this will be complemented by firsthand experience gained from personalised training and mentorship from industry professionals and seasoned chefs within partners’ kitchens.

“This approach will enable apprentices to effectively apply their newly acquired skills in a practical setting while gaining valuable experience working alongside chefs and kitchen staff. Also, by being part of a professional kitchen, the apprentices will be able to build a network of industry professionals, leading to valuable connections and potential job opportunities,” added Essa Bin Hadher.

The programme’s anchor partners have enthusiastically welcomed the initiative.

Gates Hospitality views the programme as a platform that enables apprentices to stay up to date with sector trends. “The culinary industry is constantly evolving with changing tastes and trends,” said Gates Hospitality’s CEO and Founder, Naim Maadad. “This programme will help restaurants train staff in the latest techniques and cuisines while the demanding nature of a kitchen environment will help instil a strong work ethic, discipline, and time management skills in apprentices. It’s a win-win-win formula all round.”

“This programme will give the apprentices early exposure to real work conditions,” commented Sebastian Nohse, Senior Director of Culinary, EMEA Hilton. “Apprenticeships are proven, highly successful entry level paths into the industry giving participants early and simultaneous exposure to the daily demands of a professional kitchen. This programme will enable our F&B operations to more easily and swiftly recruit and train new employees who bring significant local knowledge to our products and services.”

Marriott believes the programme will also help address some of the key recruitment challenges that the culinary sector is facing. “This initiative will ensure Dubai’s rapidly growing culinary scene is able to tap into a vibrant talent pool,” commented Sergio Snyder, Area Director of Human Resources Premium and Select, Marriott International. “It also gives us an opportunity to acquire staff which can become committed to our brand having been trained in our own specific standards and operating procedures.”

Applicants for the apprenticeships must be at least 18 years of age, meet DCT admission requirements and pass an industry partner-led interview. At the end of the programme, apprentices will need to take a practical exam assessed by DCT evaluators, which will test their level of achievement against specific performance criteria on a Pass/Merit/Distinction scale. Assessments will also consider the apprentices’ actual performance during the programme, and students will need to produce written feedback on their experience. Successful apprentices will have the option to explore full time employment with their mentoring industry partner.