On 28 April 2016, Laguna Phuket hosted a Graduation Ceremony to celebrate the success of Seedlings Phuket’s first group of interns, Class of 2016, who started their journey in October 2014 and just completed their 18-month job skills training and career mentorship programme.
Aimed at providing professional training and job opportunities for marginalised local young adults, the Seedlings Phuket initiative comprises a two-phase paid internship programme. It starts with a 9-month food and beverage skills training at Banyan Tree Phuket and Angsana Laguna Phuket, followed by another 9-month working experience in actual Seedlings Phuket – the resort’s very first social enterprise restaurant, located at Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort in the heart of Laguna Phuket.
“Since the launch of Seedlings programme in October 2014, we have welcomed three groups of interns. Having only 15 selected interns in each class, the 45 interns were chosen for their enthusiasm for a career in food and beverage industry and commitment to service and hospitality,” enthused Mr. Ravi Chandran, Managing Director of Laguna Phuket.
“In view of their intensive past hardships, undergoing a rigorous training schedule has not been trivial for them. This is why it is especially heart-warming to congratulate them on their graduation. We hope to continue helping them overcome their career obstacles and aid them along their path to success.”
Seedlings Phuket exemplifies how hotel and resort companies can use their resources and commitment to invest back into the sustainable growth of local communities. Ms. Claire Chiang, Co-Founder of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Chairperson of Banyan Tree Global Foundation had reflected upon the programme’s motto “Plant a Seed, Change a Life” at the opening of Seedlings Phuket restaurant in July last year, “Laguna Phuket and Banyan Tree have abundant resources, and the underprivileged young adults of Phuket can have their inner potentials realised. Seedlings is a perfect platform of using expertise and global resources to nurture the seeds of growth for the careers and interests of our local people. Social enterprises should be about those with resources helping those without,” she concluded.
The graduation ceremony includes certificate presentation and congratulatory address by Dr. Tatiyaporn Jarumaneerat, Associate Dean for Administration and Research, Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus, the programme’s partner.
“We are proud and delighted to see the achievement [of the interns] and the success of the programme,” said Dr. Tatiyaporn.
“On behalf of Prince of Songkla University, I would like to congratulate the graduates and Laguna Phuket on the great success of the Seedlings programme.”
Certified by Prince of Songkla University, the comprehensive programme meets the intensive ASEAN food and beverage curriculum standards, therefore Seedlings graduates are equipped with the competitive advantage for greater job opportunities in ASEAN countries.
The graduates also had an opportunity to showcase their recently-learned talent as they excitedly prepared a dish at a live station and served delectable food to the ceremony’s participants.
One of the graduates who, despite his physical disabilities, completed the programme with great success and is now working full-time at Seedlings Phuket Restaurant. He shared his experience in undergoing the programme. “Seedlings internship programme has helped me a lot and also taught me more about hospitality and services,” said Mr. Chanuwat Thongtem,
“I have made many new friends and everyone at work makes me feel like I am part of the family.”
The ceremony also saw two graduates who are Laguna Phuket Kindergarten’s alumni. Spending their preschool years at the Kindergarten which is one of Laguna Phuket’s first CSR initiatives, the two students’ graduation from Seedlings Phuket demonstrates the full circle of Laguna Phuket’s continuous commitment in education development and community empowerment over its 29-year establishment.
Seedlings Phuket continues its paid internship programme to extend career opportunities to more young adults in Phuket and neighbouring provinces. For more information about how to participate or to donate to Laguna Phuket Foundation, please visit www.lagunaphuket.com/CSR