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Christine Schillings, CEO winsedswiss România: Ne-am angajat să formăm personal pregătit să lucreze imediat

this article was automatically translated from Romanian to English.

Posted on 11/02/2022

image of article Christine Schillings, CEO winsedswiss România: Ne-am angajat să formăm personal pregătit să lucreze imediat

He has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, working in the operational sphere in hotels in France, Germany, UK and Romania. For 16 years, he was Regional Director Hilton Worldwide, managing a portfolio of 46 hotels in Eastern Europe, Turkey, Russia and Israel. Since July 2020, Christine Schillings has been CEO of winsedswiss Romania, dedicating herself to the role of overall project management, while being an active trainer of ohma schools and enjoying the satisfaction of passing on to future hoteliers the essential ingredients of a successful career in the industry.

The first ohma by winsedswiss Academy opened in July 2020. Tell us more about the institution's offer.

In today's hospitality world, guest expectations are increasingly high and diverse, so you can have the nicest hotel, but if it's not accompanied by quality service, you'll definitely have a hard time keeping guests. Thus, the opening of hospitality schools in Romania under the license of the École hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), the most renowned hospitality institution in the world, creates the premises for training the next generation of professionals in the hospitality industry, which is constantly evolving.

At the ohma academies, EHL-certified vocational programmes can be completed in four professional areas - Culinary, Food Service, Reception and Accommodation, Hotel Management - and the Professional Diploma requires the completion of three independent modules of six months each, corresponding to each candidate's stage of training and experience - Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced -, the completion of which is attested by VET by EHL (Vocational Education and Training by École hôtelière de Lausanne) certificates. Prospective students can enrol on any of these three modules, depending on their previous work experience. And from 2022, our students will also be able to obtain a local qualification diploma, issued by the National Qualifications Authority (ANC).

Who are the trainers at ohma and what is the focus of the courses?

The ohma trainers are all recognised professionals in the tourism, hospitality and service industry who bring their passion for their field. Our aim is to pass on to students a passion for excellent service and not just theoretical knowledge. Before being allowed to deliver the curriculum, based on the Swiss competency framework, each trainer goes through a special training course (TTT), run by EHL. Trainers also hold the trainer certificate. At ohma Brasov, a school that operates as a campus-hotel within the ohma Hotel in Poiana Brasov, winsedswiss group experts, hospitality professionals and EHL certified trainers, play a direct role in the management of the hotel establishment, working together with the students of the academy, who learn and apply the theoretical concepts under the guidance of the instructors.

From the feedback so far, what is the perception of jobs in the industry?

Our commitment is to provide operators with students who are ready to immediately take up the positions for which they have specialised. The best feedback we received was from a general manager of an international hotel where we sent students on internships. The feedback was: "there was no need to train them, they already knew how to perform". For customers, this five-star host-guest interaction will make the difference for an exceptional stay and an unforgettable tourism experience.

Where do ohma students do their internships, with whom do you have such partnerships?

We have partnerships with some of the best-known hospitality brands in the country and abroad, with some of our students opting for internships abroad in exotic resorts and luxury hotels last year. We are delighted that more and more hotels and restaurants are contacting us to welcome interns. We are open for discussions in this regard with all operators who understand the need to train young people and provide them with the conditions to perfect their chosen career path.

What does the recent partnership with City Grill entail for the gastronomy courses? Do you have any more plans for such partnerships?

The association between City Grill and ohma by winsedswiss represents an added value for both partners. City Grill, one of the best known and most successful restaurant chains in Romania, is dedicated to this collaboration with the common goal of contributing to the quality of professional training in the field. Thus, ohma Bucharest students will follow the Culinary Arts program at the City Grill Academy, where they will benefit from quality training, thanks to the infrastructure provided by City Grill, as well as thanks to the ohma by winsedswiss trainers and curriculum.

Another collaborative approach is one alliance (ohma network for education), the hospitality industry professionals' network, which is a trusted bet on collaboration between industry operators and schools to prepare young people who want to build a career in this vast and always surprising field. We collaborate with top brands in Bucharest, where courses will also be held, so our students have the opportunity to visit and feel the working atmosphere of a hotel, even during their theoretical training.

There is a lot of talk about attracting young people to vocational professions. How can they be motivated to pursue a career in hospitality?

Indeed, the pandemic has severely damaged the reputation of the hospitality industry as a working environment, with the decline in interest from young people reaching drastic proportions in 2020. Our role as hoteliers is to convince the new generation that hospitality is resilient, has the ability to evolve and emerge victorious from these challenges they face.

We know that the new generation is somewhat more demanding, all the more reason to make sure they get the training and tools they need to be the best they can be. If we add ingredients like passion and more joy in the workplace, I think we can have it with us.

How do you think services in the hospitality industry can be improved?

In the autumn of this year, we conducted a national survey of Romanians' perceptions of the service and hospitality industry in Romania, with 1,201 respondents. The most important criterion on which Romanians rated the quality of service was education and training of staff. Therefore, through training, training and more training, we will start the snowball effect, but these effects depend on the mobilization of operators and actors involved in services and education. However, as we specialise more and more staff, they in turn will pass on the know-how they have acquired to their new colleagues.

What are your goals for next year and what can you tell us about your medium-term plans?

In 2022, we will continue with plans to consolidate schools in existing locations and to start training series for all career paths. Should the opportunity arise to open a new location, we will consider it. At the same time, we will continue our international expansion, being present in Serbia and soon in Cyprus.

The development plans of winsedswiss include several business areas, whose projects and activities have already been started and are already taking shape. Hospitality Management & Consulting (hmc) is the group's hotel management and consulting division, bringing together experts with more than 100 years of combined experience in the field. With its extensive knowledge and global network, hmc takes an active part in the success of its clients' businesses, assisting them at various stages of project development. In the last two years, hmc has started to carry out strategic, operational and hotel management consulting activities in Romania. The ohma by winsedswiss hotel in Poiana Brasov is the first hotel we have taken over in management, following the takeover of other hotels and restaurants in the country.

We also meet the needs of hospitality professionals with a calendar of short-term training courses tailored to the needs of the organisation and the experience of the hotel team. The business area is another area for which we offer both consultancy and training programmes in the field of "Service Excellence", courses that address all strategic areas in the service sector, as well as in any other field that understands the importance of a perfect relationship with external and internal customers.



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