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Empowering girls through access to technology

Ifeoma Nwabachili, Deputy Provost, Wavecrest College of Hospitality Lagos

Where were we before technology? Ifeoma Nwabachili, deputy provost at Wavecrest in Lagos writes about the importance of teaching and using technology as part of their hospitality curriculum.

I studied at the University of Nigeria back in the late 80s. At that time, unlike my other College friends in Engineering and Computer science who did a bit more with computers, the closest I came to using a computer was standing beside a typist who typed my final year dissertation for me.

At the time, I considered computers to be gadgets that one would eventually need to use. But not now! To top it all, using a computer required special training (or so I thought).

The first time I actually used a computer was when I graduated from university. I had just started working at Wavecrest, and the College received a donation of computers for the Faculty office. I fiddled with the computer on my desk with some trepidation and admiration.

Sometime later I left for Thames Valley University (now University of West London) to do a Master’s degree in Hospitality Management. It was a career change for me as Wavecrest College of Hospitality required faculty with the right qualifications to teach Hospitality.

Day one at university was daunting. Why? I was in front of a computer. The course was Information Technology in Hospitality. I sat beside a Chinese girl and anything she pressed on the keyboard I did likewise. The rest is history…

Back home now in Wavecrest, some 20 years later, no one does anything without technology these days. Using and teaching information technology is key in all Hospitality institutions - from the simple use of social media to report writing and research. Where were we before technology?

You can imagine with what relish we witnessed three of our students, after a fierce competition with 132 other entries from hospitality schools across Europe, Asia and Oceania, emerged one of five finalists at the Accor student challenge in Paris in 2014.

They were the only representatives from Africa...and they, were first runners-up! The team scaled through with a photo collage, video representation and a successful Skype interview with the jury made up of senior Accor professionals and academia. The topic - Digital Innovation in Hospitality - required students to develop an innovative and feasible mobile app that could be used to enhance hotel operations and guest service. Their entry was designed to adopt popular social media interfaces to connect and empower over 160,000 Accor employees at the time through smart phone technology. Watch our video entry here.

Chioma, a graduate of the College has been working in the Finance department of The Continental Hotel Lagos. Zita, is the Guest Relationship Associate at the Radisson Hotel, also in Lagos. They and many other Wavecrest graduates work daily with Property Management Systems, Central Reservation Systems etc at their workplaces. Thanks to the training on the use of information technology offered at various levels while at Wavecrest.

Currently, Wavecrest has the challenge to regularly equip and update its computer training centre, the e-library and the computer teaching tools to meet standards. 

To complete its computer room and provide the best quality teaching to its students, Wavecrest College needs a number of items, including a new printer (£240), a new projector and screen (£420) and new computers (£1500). If you would like to support Wavecrest, you can donate towards their new equipement . You can also come to our fundraising concert on 19th May (tickets available here).

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