The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremmadu, has commended the management of BON Hotels for their commitment towards developing local skills and talents through its â€˜home-grown skills development strategy, saying such move would be appreciated by the country to encourage investments in diverse sectors, particularly the hotel, tourism and hospitality industry as part of efforts to diversify the economy.
Speaking recently during the launch of the refurbished BON Hotel Abuja, Ekweremadu, said with investments coming into the economy from various sectors, Nigerians would gradually develop international and home-grown skills that would sustainably keep the economy in top shape.
While hailing the hotels for emphasising their strategy of local skills and training in the Nigerian hospitality sector, he stressed that the group made their home-grown policy known when they entered the Nigerian hotel management arena some two years ago.
According to him, â€œrecent reports issued by the group which indicates that the number of Nigerian managers coming through their programme shows BON Hotelâ€™s commitment to skills development and transfer for Nigeria and Nigerians.â€
Also speaking at the event, Chairman, BON Hotels International West Africa, Mr. Otto Stehlik, said he was extremely pleased at the progress of the Hotels group, saying it recognised the need for skills development when it began operation in Nigeria.
â€œWe put together a transformation programme, which the board identified as a priority. We are finally in a position where we have a team of elite Nigerians who have been trained, educated, skilled, and more importantly, mentored to head up and be supported by senior executive management and head office,â€ Stehlik said.
He said the idea formed an ideal base for future growth in Nigeria at all levels, noting that it was apparent that BON Hotels had a sincere strategy of tapping into the skills and expertise of seasoned hoteliers in raising the skills of local talents.
On his part, Executive Director of the Hotel, Mr. Bernard Cassar, said the organisation was proud that its hotels across Nigeria was peopled by mainly Nigerians and that a few expatriates staff had devoted their energy into transferring their knowledge and abilities to eager Nigerian recruits.
â€œWe are able to boast from the rooftops that more and more of our hotels are managed at the senior level by locally trained Nigerian staff. This strategy has been a work in progress. As far back as 2001, Nigerians were identified and fast-tracked to form a new generation of localised senior managers,â€ Cassar said.
Cassar added: â€œOf the 25 hotels which BON hotels manage across Nigeria, 80 per cent of their general managers, deputy managers, senior management, department heads and executive chefs have over the last two years been trained, skilled and promoted to senior level positions by the group.
â€œThe Nigerian management headed by a Nigerian, Mr. Paul Umoh, who from his position as executive director and major shareholder at BON Hotels International West Africa, has been one of the many local Nigerians fast-tracked through the transformation policy. Umoh heads up the on-the-ground operational management of the Nigerian hotels.â€