Helping youths think out of the box  

Shihab Sarkar   | Published: December 24, 2018 22:21:33


Except the keen observers, majority of people cannot often tell a smoothly passed university graduate from one not being able to cross the bar. True, the former finds a wide array of job offers before him or her; the latter spends hours browsing online job-pages or newspapers. This has been a universal truth in this country for long. Jobs run after the successful youths. Those with poor educational performance lag behind. Still the unemployed youths are found clad in nice clothes. They eat good food and are vibrant in gossiping. But the reality is their apparently bright and confident mien cannot hide their inner world of despair: because they are jobless. Their beaming looks have a lot to do with the means of the basic survival provided by the present social set-up. In reality, they are jobless; they also lack the calibre demanded of one willing to reach the heights of professional careers.

Given the wide prevalence of jobless educated youths, employment experts readily present an upbeat picture of the job scenario. But to their utter dismay, they discover that majority of the country's graduate youths love to remain confined to a few age-old areas. They cannot come out of the box. Over the last couple of decades, a good number of non-traditional jobs have appeared before both the graduate and non-graduate youths. The properly passed young men and women, many of them completing their Master's, opt for taking competitive examinations. This fetish for bureaucratic careers has been integral to Bangladesh and the other parts of the Sub-continent for ages. With the recent fabulous rise in salaries, perks and the other facilities in the Superior Service, few can resist its pull. But, like in the past, the various types of examinations and tests a job-aspirant has to go through to succeed in them finally are daunting. Only a handful can come out completely successful.

The irony is few of today's youths bother to pore over the list of new-age jobs on offer. A number of these employments are in wide demand in many overseas countries. The discipline of tourism and hospitality is one of them. Notwithstanding the fast growth of the hotel industry in Bangladesh, the hoteliers are allegedly hamstrung by an acute dearth of educated and trained staff. An amazing aspect of the hotel business in Bangladesh is that even undergraduate youths still shy away from a career in hospitality service. Experts in tourism and allied fields ascribe this disinterest to social inhibitions. People dealing with employment matters view the hospitality sector as a veritable serendipitous opening for the tolerably educated youths. On being trained in the discipline, successful candidates can expect a vast world of overseas jobs opening before them.

The authorities at the University of Dhaka have not failed to realise the importance of a separate department for preparing students for a rewarding career in hospitality service. They have thus set up the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management. The department started its journey under the Faculty of Business Studies in 2007. Students with a knack for serving people through hospitality find the department a most suitable place for preparing them for the job market. This career requires both passion and patience. A successful hospitality management person ought to be disposed towards providing convenience and comfort to a client. He or she should be ever prepared to help people out from unwarranted difficulties. Some people are born to serve. They are amiable, and want to see people happy.

With deluxe hotels and resorts opening one after another in Dhaka and the other places, job-hunting youths can now discover themselves before the door to a world of endless opportunities. In the not-too-distant a past, Bangladesh used to boast of its lone 5-star hotel in the capital. The port city of Chittagong claimed the status of hosting the oldest deluxe hotel of the country. At present there are around 30 upscale and international standard hotels in Dhaka. Of them, 10 belong to the 5-star category. Besides, a number of 5-star and 3-star hotels have lately opened in Chittagong and the Cox's Bazar seaside resort. Apart from the privately run hotels, the tourism corporation of the government has long had its own hotels in the country's tourist spots. The department also operates a chain of motels and rest houses across the country.

Persons acquainted with the hospitality industry are highly optimistic of the rise in hotel business in the country. Better days for the sector means opening of career opportunities for the interested youths -- both male and female. However, in their observation, they continue to lay emphasis on imparting training to the promising hotel crew. In order to see this imperative come true, the need for training centres with local and foreign experts deserves to be a high priority. With the resumption of visits by foreign tourists, business and other delegations, the country's hospitality sector is poised to reemerge in a spectacular way. Bouts of socio-political spasms have affected Bangladesh in the recent times. The same have been the cases with Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and some other tourist-destination countries. But except Bangladesh, few of these countries have experienced a drastic fall in the number of tourist arrivals. Despite the turbulent developments, the state of the tourism sector has been business as usual in those countries. Now that Bangladesh has resumed its tourism on a firm footing, both tourists and the operators can look forward to the sector's better days. However, in a trouble-torn world, tourism cannot be expected to emerge as impeccably hazard-free like in the past. The tourism career-aspirants, thus, had better keep in mind the realities that may stand in their way of grooming themselves as hospitality professionals.

In the past, the guardians of mediocre students at the college and university levels couldn't stop worrying about the professional career of their wards. Nowadays, they feel largely relieved of these anxieties. The job market continues to expand with the opening of newer employments in areas which were non-existent in the past. Apart from customer support jobs, freelancing, employment at outsourcing centres and data entry outlets, there are many other jobs which could become professions for youths who love to remain free of office constraints. Nonetheless, of the scores of new-age professions, the career in tourism and hospitality is considered the most rewarding in developing countries like Bangladesh.

shihabskr@ymail.com

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