“It is very important that students know how everything works in a hotel”

April 2014

Ulla Salscheider, training coordinator Hotel and Tourism Education at Elof Lindälvs Gymnasium, in Kungsbacka kommun, Sweden.

Which are the main differences between training in Gran Canaria and in Sweden?

First, there is a big step for our students to leave home.  They have to take care of everything themselves, they do not have any parents to look after them. Second, there is also a big difference in the culture at the hotels between the staff. In Sweden the union is very strong and it is very important with how many hours you are allowed to work, breaks and so on.

The students must speak English all the time and they must also improve their Spanish. 

When they do there trainee at hotels in Sweden we like the students to start one week in the housekeeping and one week at the food and beverage departments. These are very important departments at the hotel, and it is good for the students to get to know the different staff and also understand and respect different kind of jobs. It is also easier to handle problems at the reception, when you have experience from different departments.

Do they always start in this department?

Not all the time, but it is our wish.  I have my own experience from the cruise industry and before I got a job as a Cruise manager I had tried a lot of different jobs, such as housekeeping, food and beverage, reception, tour leader etc. I think it was a very good training to become a manager after having these different jobs. 

Why did you choose Gran Canaria for this programme?

We choose it because a lot of Swedish students study Spanish in school and it is a very important language in the tourism industry. There are a lot of Scandinavian people that have a tradition to spend their holiday at the Canary Island. The trainee period for our students is between February – May, and at that time it is the tourist season at the Island. It is also easy to find flights for our students at a reasonable cost.

Before me and my college Monica went to Gran Canaria we spoke to Emilia Del Rosario, one of our students. Her father is born on the Island and she has spent a lot of time here. She recommends us that to contact someone at the Hotel Servatur Green Beach Hotel, because she stayed there with her family many times. So we contacted Anna Kesti at the reception department at the hotel and she arranged a meeting with Pilar De Rada at the Quality Department. It was a very good meeting and we felt that Servatur was a very serious company, and that we felt safe sending our students here.

Did the students know each other before coming here?

Yes, they are all from the same class. We think they are too young to go abroad by themselves, and it makes them feel more secure to travel together. But we, the teachers, decided which student that can go abroad, so they cannot chose their own friends.     

What are the benefits for companies who take students, as Servatur Hotels?

The benefit could be that if the hotels have a lot of Scandinavian guests the students can speak with theme in their own language and help out with these guests. Especially when it comes to older people and children. They can also inform about our culture and what the Scandinavian market demands. Hopefully they can give some new ideas from their point of view. These young students are the future and the next generation of guests and staff.