The hospitality sector in Jammu and Kashmir is set to get some relief in the skilled manpower front thanks to central government's Hunar-se-Rozgar (Talent to Job) initiative which seeks to train thousands of young people in hotel management.
Students at Srinagar's Hotel Management Institute take part in food preparation classes under Hunar-se-Rozgar (Talent to Job). The programme seeks to train 25,000 local youth for jobs and careers in the hospitality industry. Jammu and Kashmir youth gain employable skills through the programme, while the burgeoning hospitality industry has a greater talent pool to draw from.
"Earlier we would provide training in limited areas. However, with the growing demand, we are now trying to open training centres in each district," he said.
In the six-to-eight week course, youth are trained in food and beverage service and housekeeping. A middle level of education (eighth standard) is required to enroll.
Mir said the government sector cannot meet the growing need for youth jobs, and such programmes open opportunities in the private sector.
"Earlier we would receive complaints that due to the shortage of training centres, they could not join the training programme," he said. "However, we have recently opened two new centres – one in Jammu and another in Ladakh – which is helping a lot."
Azmat Ali Khan, deputy director for J&K Tourism, said Hunar-se-Rozgar is eliciting a strong response.
"Youth in Kashmir, especially from villages, are coming forward in large numbers and are joining the programme," Khan told. "My department alone has trained 330 youth this year and around 150 are under training."
The quality of tourism services in Kashmir may also improve as a result, providing an added draw for potential visitors.
"Given the fact that we do not have professional attendants or waiters in Kashmir, this would help in providing better services to our tourists," Khan said.
"Anyone who completes the programme will get a job in any local hotel and as a result, we would be able to provide better services to our guests," he said.