Five graduates from an esteemed tourism college in Nairobi have come to Jersey to help plug gaps in the island’s hospitality workforce.
The group, all from Kenya Utalii College were brought to the island by GR8 to work in the Royal Yacht.
They came over prior to the latest travel changes, spending 10 days in isolation in Amber-listed Ghana, and were released from isolation in Jersey after their Day 5 negative result.
It’s the latest success story for GR8, which uses its links with colleges in Bulgaria, Barbados, the Philippines and Rwanda to help support the hospitality industries in the Channel Islands. In April, Utalii graduates joined Guernsey's workforce.
As of Monday, 16 recruits were already working in Jersey and Guernsey, two were in transit, and 28 awaiting work permits.
The hospitality workforce has faced several struggles in recent years, firstly as a result of Brexit and the end of free movement, then as a result of the pandemic, which made bringing over staff difficult.
Recently, St. Brelade’s Bay Hotel welcomed some new faces all the way from Barbados from its sister hotel, the Lone Star Boutique – four waiting staff and four chefs.
Pictured: St. Brelade's Bay Hotel also had to think outside of the box for its staffing requirements recently.
There are 168 hospitality and catering jobs currently needing filled, according to the Government’s jobs site - the highest number of vacancies of any category.
Lee Madden, Managing Director of GR8 said his business has had to look at innovative ways of plugging gaps in the hospitality workforce in recent years.
Speaking about the firm’s connections with Kenya, he explained: “When I visited the faculty in Nairobi, I experienced the exacting standards demanded by the college and saw first-hand how hard the students work. We believe in making connections and we have built up a strong relationship with our hospitality colleagues in Kenya.
“Over the last few years, we have supported a large number of Kenyans who have come to work in the Channel Islands, but the last 18 months have made the process of bringing them over extremely difficult. When Kenya turned red, we found a way to bring people over that was safe, cost effective and provided the industry with dedicated and professional team members.”
Claudio Abreu, Head of Operations at The Royal Yacht, said: “It has been extremely difficult to find the right people to work in our industry, but we are fortunate that there are routes still available to bring people over who we know will be a huge hit with our guests who value professional and friendly service when they stay with us or use our bars and restaurants.”
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