The Laguna Group, which operates the Laguna Phuket resort complex, has launched a new CSR programme aimed at training disadvantaged local youths in culinary and restaurant skills, to enable them to find future employment in the local tourism sector.
Unveiled on 21 October 2014, the Seedlings initiative will initially see a group of 15 youngsters aged 17 to 25 years embark on 18 months of food and beverage skills training and a restaurant career mentorship programme. The aim is to create Banyan Tree’s first social enterprise restaurant in Phuket, following the success of a similar initiative, ‘Seedlings Hoi An’, at the Laguna Lang Co resort in Vietnam.
“Fifteen local youths have been selected as the initiative’s first batch to undergo the two-phased programme, starting with a nine-month food and beverage skills training at Banyan Tree and Angsana Laguna Phuket, followed by another nine-months working experience in a new Seedlings Phuket restaurant, which will be launched in July 2015,” said Ravi Chandran, managing director of Laguna Phuket.
Claire Chiang, co-founder of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and chair the Banyan Tree Global Foundation, expressed her confidence that the initiative will change lives.
“When Laguna Lang Co launched Seedlings Hoi An in 2013, we knew it would serve its purpose as a launching platform for local youth development, providing invaluable vocational skills and experiences. To date, Seedlings Hoi An has taken in more than 30 local youths while the restaurant became a successful self-sufficient social enterprise. We are very hopeful that Seedlings Phuket will do the same,” said Ms Chiang.
In September 2014, the 15 local youths were selected from more than 80 applicants. Since then, they have gone through a series of interviews, orientation and workshops that prepared them for the actual training programme, which started on 20 October 2014.