The free project of Aspira College has opened the possibility of finding a job for 118 people: younger than 25, older than 54, and people with disabilities who were trained to become chefs, waiters and sommeliers.
How to get a job if you are younger than 25 or older than 54, and you are also a member of a vulnerable group or a person with a disability?
In the labour market, such people often have a more difficult start position. That is why any initiative that brings vulnerable groups closer to the labour market is extremely important. One of these is Aspira College, which recently held the final ceremonies of the project Aspiratur in Split and Zagreb. Aspira College is the project holder with the partners: Institution DES and Bluesun Hotels, and with the support of intermediary bodies, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian Employment Service.
The aim of the project was to train more than a hundred participants to perform jobs in the field of hospitality for three professions – waiter, chef and sommelier. I am extremely glad to be here today because I know from personal experience how important and praiseworthy these projects are. People are the key to success of our tourism and this is best seen in these pandemic days when every moment is a new challenge to which the sector of tourism must respond quickly, with quality and creatively. In doing so, special attention should be paid to practice because only through practice can our potentials be developed and recognized and new ideas created. Innovation and creativity are one of the key factors that enable us to develop from year to year and that is why we must continue to follow that direction. Congratulations to Aspira College for successfully achieving all elements of the project despite the circumstances of the pandemic, said Ms. Sandra Herman, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
– A very important fact in the project Aspiratur is that the project is completely free for those who attend the programs. I must thank the intermediary bodies, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian Employment Service, as wells as our partners, Institution DES and Bluesun Hotels, with whom we had the opportunity to work closely in applying for this project, but also in the organization of the project activities. We are very proud that despite all the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we managed to carry out all the activities and finish the project. A whole team of people worked on the realization of the project for almost two years and a total of 118 participants in Split and Zagreb were trained to work in hospitality during classes of theory, practice and internship with mentors from hotels. This will certainly open new opportunities for them in the labour market – said Alen Jerkunica, the dean of Aspira College.
Institution DES was especially interested in this project as an institution dealing with the employment of persons with disabilities under special conditions.
– It was somehow logical to be partners in this project, for which I am thankful because through the project we had opportunities for further developing our activities. Participating in joint meetings while designing the program from the aspect of a group of people with disabilities was an addition to our regular activities. – said Ms. Sonja Berecka, sociologist at Institution DES.
ELENA GUDELJ Head of the CES Labour Market Department:
We are extremely honoured that the Croatian Employment Service was involved in this project, primarily because people hard to employ, i.e. vulnerable groups, were involved. I hope that this education and training will help the participants to find their place in the labour market more easily and that projects such as Aspiratur and collaborations like this will continue in the future.
ILIJA ANDABAK manager of Bluesun Hotel Kaj in Marija Bistrica:
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality workforce so projects like this are more than welcome to us from Bluesun Hotels. I am extremely glad that we were able to help educate more than 100 people. We can say with certainty that they have gained enough knowledge to be able to compete in the labour market.
FILIP BENJAK career manager of Bluesun Hotels:
Since the goal of this project was to integrate the participants into the labour market, we took the first step and contacted all people involved in the project who were at disposal. I hope that the season will start as soon as possible so that we can include them in our facilities, and I look forward to future collaborations with Aspira. I believe that this is the right way to improve the tourism sector, which certainly still has a lot to show.
KATARINA MILKOVIĆ Deputy of Head of the City Office for Education of the City of Zagreb:
I thank Aspira College for this praiseworthy project that brought together young people under 25, people over the age of 54 and people with disabilities, without any compensation on their part. With the desire that this is not the last project of this kind and that you continue to find resources, ways and enthusiasm for such things in the future, I wish you students to continue to live your dreams and continue to develop the hospitality and gastronomy of our country.