Marriott International, a diversified hospitality firm has invited 24 graduates from the Akilah Institute for Women in Rwanda to its hotels in Dubai and Doha Hotels for on-the-job training.
The Akilah Institute for Women is a college founded in 2010 by its current CEO Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes and her spouse to offer market-relevant education to women in Rwanda and Burundi with an education model emphasising leadership and communication skills.
Under Akilah’s partnership with the Marriot, the twenty-four young African women selected will fly to Dubai and Doha in December to join 17 Akilah graduates who began the same training programme with Marriott hotels in Dubai in the fall of 2012.
All will return to Rwanda in 2014 to open Marriott’s first hotel in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Kigali Marriott, while two of the women, Cecile Musanase and Julian Kankunda, were also scheduled in to fly to Washington, D.C. to speak at an event celebrating the partnership.
Akilah CEO Dearborn-Hughes noted: “Thanks to partnerships like Marriott, Akilah places 100% of our first graduating class in jobs that are building sustainable careers in Africa, and these young women are thriving in their jobs at the hotels in Dubai and Doha.”
Gary Dodds, Marriott’s VP of human resources for the MEA region and leader for the programme, added: “We want promising, local talent as part of our commitment to young people in Africa, and we have found some of that talent through our partnership with Akilah.
“A partnership like that with Akilah is something we wish to consider at each of our hotel openings including in Ghana and Ethiopia where we have committed to build a hotel.”
In addition to the Kigali Marriott Hotel, the company has 10 hotels in its Sub-Saharan Africa pipeline, including a hotel in the capital of Ghana by 2014, and in the capitals of Ethiopia and Gabon, Addis Ababa and Libreville, as well as Benin’s largest city, Contonou, by 2015.
As Marriott increases its presence in Africa more than six-fold from ten to 33 hotels by 2018, it anticipates hiring nearly 10,000 employees, the majority of whom will be local residents.