“Home for all. Wavecrest for me is home for all.”
Wonder’s Nigeria and Vocational Training Advisor, Belinda Nwosu, recently sat down with us to discuss her uplifting experience of working as a lecturer and academic administrator at Wavecrest College of Hospitality, a leading hospitality institution and Wonder partner in Nigeria, for over 14 years.
Fulfilling one's potential
“I must say it has been an uplifting experience being at Wavecrest. Simply because of meeting girls who come from nowhere discover hospitality, discover the beauty of a vocational trait and then go out into the world and become something.
“There is a deficit in the area of vocational skills, obviously because of what has happened. So, there is a massive minefield for people that work in technical areas, which hospitality is a key area.”
Unfortunately, this deficit in the area of vocational skills means there are not enough trained people and not enough places where people can get quality training. Wavecrest not only provides girls with training in cooking or hospitality management but prepares them with life skills and opportunities to get good jobs.
A success story of a student that Belinda shared focused on a young lady who was offered a permanent position as a housekeeper at the hotel she was doing her work placement. She later received a promotion and now works within the management team:
“During the programme, you could see her blossom, and then when she finished she was so happy that she had a certificate, and she got a job offer from the hotel who wanted her to come back and work for them full time. She went back and worked as a housekeeper and then became a supervisor. That’s where she is at right now. She graduated two years ago."
A lawyer turned cake shop entrepreneur
Belinda shared another heart-warming story of a young woman who enrolled on a short course offered by Wavecrest. While young women have the option of studying vocational programmes, Wavecrest also offers short courses to older women. Majority of these women have either finished their studies, wanted to move on in life, or be in a better financial position to support their family. The short courses range from cake and pastry courses to general culinary courses.
“We’ve had people who now have opened cake shops, and they’re doing so well. You just look at them and think ‘Wow!’
“So that’s another example we give our students – she’s a lawyer and she has one of the biggest cake shops in Lagos.”
Utilising local talent
While Wavecrest works tirelessly to upskill young Nigerian women so they can take advantage of the growing hospitality industry and find stable jobs, it also connects Nigerian women who have studied abroad with local employers to utilise local talent within senior management positions in hospitality.
“When she completed her MBA, she came back to Nigeria and got married. We decided to put her in touch with one of the international hotel chains, and they were ecstatic to have a Nigerian with an MBA in hospitality. You know that’s not very common.
“So, we now have students who have the opportunity to become business owners. For some of them, they couldn’t have imagined some years before that they could own a business, become employers of labour through the hospitality profession.”
Having the right attitude
Belinda cites the positive attitude of the students as a big determining factor for employers.
“Our students have the right attitude – it’s easier to recruit for skills, it’s harder to recruit for attitude. You can’t find attitude waiting for you.
"So, they’re very happy to have a set of people who have the right attitude to work, appreciate and love their profession. And then they can make up the skills. Of course, there’s a limit to what we can teach the students in terms of skills. You need to be out there living and experiencing the industry. And so, it’s a two-way thing:
"The industry has to give us the opportunity to skill our students, and we prepare the students for that workplace. And that’s something where I must say we have made a difference.”
You can continue to empower more young women and girls at Wavecrest to fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams by supporting Wonder Foundation today.