Four Seasons bemoans lack of female involvement in record apprentice intake

The Four Seasons Hotels group has said it is taking on a record number of apprentices at its Maldives resorts over the next twelve months – despite still facing challenges in attracting local women to work in the tourism industry.

At a ceremony held at the Nasandhura Palace Hotel in Malé this morning, 34 graduates were honoured for completing twelve month training courses in specific hospitality areas such as housekeeping and guest management, food preparation, marine transportation and watersports.

The hospitality group, which operates both the Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru and Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa properties in the Maldives, is taking on 60 apprentices during the next year – a company record.

Speaking at the ceremony, Armando Kraenzlin, Regional Vice President and General Manager for Four Seasons Resorts in the Maldives, said that while “interest and the ambition to learn” was growing amongst the Maldivian workforce, encouraging women to come and work was, if anything, more difficult.

“We would ask the government, help us get more girls [into the scheme] in future,” he said. “ It has got harder today than a few years ago and that can’t be right.”

While supporting the work of groups like Four Seasons in training local staff to take up more specialised positions in the country’s resort industry, one body representing Maldivian tourism workers has called on the private sector and the government to reconsider how the current curriculum prepares school leavers for a career in the hospitality industry.

From the perspective of the Four Seasons’ operations, Armando Kraenzlin today said that schemes such as its graduate programme were vital to a company continuing to try and drive innovation across its 86 hotel operations. However, he claimed the training programmes were not without challenges.

“This year we lost one member [of the graduate program] after twelve hours,” he said.

Kraenzlin said that confusion had arisen after the staff member had not realised that they had agreed not to smoke on the resort as part of their contract, a commitment the person was unable to fulfil.

Applicant hunger

However, the company claimed that with some 500 applicants looking to fill just 60 apprenticeship spaces this year – there was a clear hunger and demand for training positions such as these in the tourism industry.

“People have travelled 16 hours by boat to come to sit interviews here in Male’ with us,” Kraenzlin said, a development he claimed demonstrated the commitment of staff to obtain places on the graduate scheme.

During today’s ceremony, Four Seasons claimed that as part of this year’s graduate class, an additional discipline call “international conversations” was being taught in order to help staff communicate with an increasingly diverse customer based including guests from China, Korea and Russia.

Beyond just learning language, the company claimed the course was designed to provide an understanding of these nations’ history, culture and even cuisine.

For the year ahead, Kraenzlin said the company was also currently working on launching a prototype engineering course.

“We know that Maldivians are tech-savvy, as well as engineering-savvy,” he said.

Kraenzlin added that with the company’s graduate scheme now in its eleventh year, the program was very much “here to stay”.  Yet he called on the government, represented by Education Minister Asim Ahmed in the audience, to help to strengthen the training the company provided to local workers.

“We are inviting the government to tell us how to do this better. Who knows, maybe we will have one class who makes it to the finish-line without any casualties during the year,” he said, referring to previous applicants who had dropped out from the course.

Education Ministry

In addressing Kraenzlin’s invite, Education Minister Asim said that Four Seasons was an “important partner” in regards to education and training in the country, especially for helping to bridge skills gaps in the current curriculum.

“There is a shortage of skills in the country that is a major challenge needing to be addressed,” he said.

With tourism being one of the most significant contributors to the nation’s economy, Asim welcomed the work of resort groups such as Four Seasons in helping the ongoing development of the national work force.

“I am personally a major supporter of linking with the private sector with schemes such as this,” he said.

TEAM view

In addressing Four Seasons’ commitments to staff training, the Tourism Employees Association of Maldives (TEAM), which aims to represent local workers’ rights in hospitality, said it was ultimately encouraged by the apprenticeship programmes ran by the multinational group.

TEAM’s Secretary General Mauroof Zakir, who was himself a graduate of Four Season’s training programme between 2004 and 2005, believed such programs were a huge benefit to the local workforce.

“From my personal understanding, the Four Seasons graduate program is one of the best. When I did the programme, I really didn’t know anything about the resort industry before going in,” he said. “When I came out, I had a much greater understanding of the work environment, though I don’t know how the program has changed since.”

Despite welcoming the graduate scheme, Zakir claimed that more needed to be done by both the government and the tourism industry to provide greater practical experiences of the resort industry to school students.

“Both resort management and the government need to look at providing more practical experiences for students of resort life,” he said. “We need to look at changes to the curriculum to get more visits to resorts. School leavers should have a much better understanding of how resorts work.”

While Zakir said he was aware of several high-end multinational resort chains providing training programs for local workers, he believed many locally-owned resorts, usually targeted at more mid-market tourism, needed to do more with their respective training schemes.

TEAM said it was not presently involved in helping outline training programs, adding that it did not receive much information from either the government or industry regarding existing projects.  However,  with an organisational mandate to try and increase the capacity of Maldivian workers in the tourism industry, the organisation claimed it would be open to playing a role in the development of future vocational training for local people.

Female worker challenge

In addressing Four Seasons’ concerns about a short-fall in the number of Maldivian women coming to work at the country’s resorts, Zakir said he believed there were several issues affecting local recruitment of females into the hospitality sector.

“Groups like Four Seasons have been trying hard to get local women to work at its resorts.   But we don’t see much improvement in the number of women workers.” he said.

Zakir claimed that more “extremist” views had been “widely spreading” around the country in recent years, creating additional social problems in encouraging female workers to come and work in hospitality.

To try and counter these messages, TEAM said that it was vital to communicate with schools and parents that resorts were not a threatening environment for women to work at.

While there had been concerns in the past involving allegations of sexual harassment against female staff, Zakir stressed that local women should not be discouraged from seeking employment on resorts.

“We need more local women working on resorts right now,” he said. “An estimated 300 to 400 Maldian women are currently thought to be working in hospitality at resorts. This is a very small amount.”

In terms of practical ways to encourage a greater number of female staff, Zakir suggested resorts could provide more regular transportation to and from resort islands as one possible solution. Such a measure, he claimed, could allow female staff to commute to work more regularly, allowing more contact with their families at home.


18 thoughts on “Four Seasons bemoans lack of female involvement in record apprentice intake”

  1. And why should they be involved?

    I am a scientist and can speak to the differences between male and female cognitive ability and can elucidate on why the latter is unsuitable for managerial roles.

    The female lacks in comparison to her male counterpart in such crucial aspects as arithmetic, logic, critical analysis; short-term, working and long-term memory.

    That being said, her understanding of language and emotion are superior, making her excellently suited for the breeding, nurturing and instructing of children. That is the role our creator himself has intended for her.

    Placing her in the working environment will turn her into a harlot and, through being a distraction, will compromise mans virtues of calculation, rationality and strength. He will not be able to work to the best of his ability.

    It is a bad dynamic, dear brothers and sisters; do not try and exceed the limits which our creator has imposed upon us. As a horse belongs in its stable, a woman belongs in her home.

    (Both Ali Shariati and the Ayatullah Khomeini, may their names ever be praised, have written extensively on this topic. I can reccomend suitable literature for those that are interested and are seekers of knowledge.)

  2. This is adressed directly to the relevant persons of concern at the Four Seasons Hotel.

    Please take heed of my words, for I am a great scholar. My understanding of gender differences in mental faculty is of great depth and breadth and you must trust me when I say that women are unsuitable for employment.

    The Western leaders of the cult of neurologism have all sorts of newfangled ideas about what women are capable of. Do not listen to them. They are completely in error and are utterly mad.

    Women must not be allowed to work. It is destroying our moral fabric as we speak! I implore you to refrain from nudging our country towards such a dangerous harbor.

  3. @dhivehi hanguraama
    Well clearly you are not a scientist except for the science of Islamic brainwashing, which prevents your ability to practice cognitive and rational thought, as you have so clearly demonstrated through your illogical viewpoints towards women.

    If you are a scientist then you must be practicing haram and should be as you say "garroted on the spot". As the basic principles of science I.e. Natural selection (which you are not an example of) physics and chemistry dismiss many of the Islamic ideals you are expressing.

    All I can say is that you are obviously to stupid to think for yourself and purely hold on to these radical viewpoints to maintain power through fear. Some of the biggest developments in science have been made by women.

    I feel sorry for your wife if you have one.

  4. both the your creator and you r out of this world and plain stupid..."The female lacks in comparison to her male counterpart in such crucial aspects as arithmetic, logic, critical analysis; short-term, working and long-term memory" can you pls prove this?? you being a self-claimed scientist need t know better that the hospitality/ tourism industry is very you said if women are superior in understanding language and emotions this is the work for her. as in this industry we work to give the tourist(people from different ethinicity) superior service. it is often said'beyond expectation' service.females can identify emotional ques better than man, can understand,relate and sort language barriers. so why not?? and top of that gain economical benefits...this might come hard on you, but economical superiority bring empowerment. meaning power and decision making capabilities.. u might become an inferior as she would not b asking to buy 1kg flour from you to feed HER kids... you might loose your credibility as a provider...sorry love..BUT the world is revolving and we are evolving with it...take your dominative jet and try carve your face on all the idle 'bajiyaa gaa' near the seawall...that should be enough work for you ..for now...

  5. How I treat my wives should be of no concern to anyone. Though rest assured that they are most excellently disciplined and make suitable mothers for my children.

    Also, please do not assume that my understanding of science bears any resemblance to that which is practiced by those mad Western conjurers. Natural-selection, neurologism and psychiatry are the stuff of speculative fiction and have no serious place in the serious discources of actual scientists and scholars, such as myself.

    It is imperative that we are listened to and our advice taken heed of. I iterate, feminism and democracy are deviant and undesirable.

  6. I myself happen to be a well educated scholar in Islam, and I can tell you that women are in fact, inferior to men. This can be proven from Hadith and the Quran, so we don't really need 'scientific' reasons as our Creator's words are enough.

    Women should stay home to look after their children. The ones who do otherwise turn into prostitutes and ultimately, leave the glorious religion of Islam. These women should be stoned, and anybody who disagrees with me should be stoned as well.

    Thank you.
    Sheikh Abdul Aziz PHD

  7. to "Sheikh AbdulAziz"

    your education was obviously sponsored by the Pakistanis or the Arabs... baseless and stupid. I feel sorry for you

  8. @ Sheikh Abdul Aziz PHD

    What a learned man you are. But you sould like a hanguraama too much.

    Btw, its PhD. Not PHD.

  9. dear dhivehi "war", (nice name by the way, helps us to believe your assertions of a scholarly nature). please, if you are going to quote "science" to us to further your argument, at least make it somewhat plausible. women have been SCIENTIFICALLY proven to have higher order function when it comes to areas of communication and organization, which if you apply logic (obviously not something you are accustomed to), suggests that they make ideal candidates for managerial roles. if you lived in a world governed by empirical evidence, guided by faith and not the other way around you may find this out. try paying attention to your women instead of telling them what you know of them, you will lead a richer life, inshallah.

  10. Women folks should not be mislead by scientific argument that women by nature are different and they are here to nurture children and are deficient in muscle mass because they don’t secrete the same amount of testosterone as men do. Nature’s sole purpose of living thing is sustaining reproduction, we are not created to conquer the world and beyond, invent machine, fly jets, invent medicine, cut human in to pieces and join them again, The natural selection is to reproduce , fittest survive and weakest disappear. We have migrated from natural selection and we are our own masters who can fight against natural selection. Women are different in nature the same way men are, but as far as worldly things are concerned that we have invented, the women folks are equal partners. Women can be doctors, scientists, and politicians, researchers, and anything that men can do except become a father of thousand babies in one day, whereas a women can be a mother only once in a year

  11. this dhivehi hanguraama guy is actually very cunning. He knows most people will not fact check what he writes. People are lazy and will make their mind on the spot. this hanguraama guy wants people to think that educated muslim scholars think like the way he wrote, so his real idea for people to hate islam and anything islamic. This is the kind of person who needs no mercy and a real enemy of islam

  12. Women are suppressed more n more in this country. The islamic cults such as the one who claims to be a scientist; who commented in this article earlier should be blamed. Women needs better opportunities than putting them inside big black heavy robes.

  13. If Maldives is going to move forward, progress and be a part of a global community, the country needs the efforts of everyone. By banning 50% of the population from jobs of responsibility we are regressing back. Women have a lot to contribute to the economy, are they are as intelligent and courageous as men - only held by by the constraints of society and religion and are not able to show their true worth. It is a sad thing.

  14. @dhivehi hanguraamu
    You are so funny! Who provided your Internet connection was it the adhaalath party, you have fallen victim to the wicked west and forever your children will be seen as the ones who lost faith and forever you and your family shall be punished
    If you wish to have many virgins in the afterlife you should stop using your computer before women expose your weakness and garrote you on the spot

  15. May Allah give us strength to opose these who only want to spread fear about our religion, we all know that we want peace and our economy relies on it. Do not listen to those radical members of our society who's only mission is to put fear in our heads for their own purpose.


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