Four Seasons Maldives Pays It Forward For the 20th year running
By Monte Mathews
20 years ago, Armando Kraenzlin, the Swiss-born Regional Vice President and General Manager of Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, determined to start an Apprenticeship Program. The ‘school’ would be centered at both luxury properties Kraenzlin oversees in this paradisiacal part of the world. The hotelier literally paddled from island to island to find the first candidates to learn the fine art of hospitality. Since 2001 the Program has graduated 651 students. Living, studying and working onsite at the glorious resort islands of Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru, the apprentices are totally immersed in their chosen field. Food and Beverage Preparation or Service, Safe Maritime Transport, Housekeeping and Guest Services, PADI Dive Mastery, Water Sports Attendant, Marine Biology are all on offer. A second-year program offers Engineering and Front Office training.
Armando Kraenzlin at podium
A proud Mr. Kraenzlin stated: “In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to keep investing in the future of the Maldivian island communities. For two decades we have invested in local talent. So many young men and women have become and will become the backbone of the Maldivian hospitality industry in the years to come thanks to this program. At Four Seasons Maldives, we want to ensure the youth have the training, skills and qualifications necessary to secure future jobs not only when the travel industry rebounds but for the long-term success and longevity of the Maldivian hospitality industry as a whole”.
Photos above -Dive, Beverage and Engineering Students
The Four Season’s Program was recognized in 2010 as the first government accredited Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) certified Apprenticeship Program. The fully-funded course is aimed at 17 to 20 year-olds from all over the country. It is open to male and female students who meet the entry criteria which include O-Level certifications and fluency in written and spoken English.
Class of 2020 Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Class of 2020 Four Season Kuda Huraa
This year’s graduating class numbered 54. 18 students from Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and 36 from Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru were set to graduate at Male’s Dharubarugge Exhibition Hall in the capital city. Due to the restrictions and disruption caused by the pandemic, instead, their Graduation Ceremonies were held separately at each resort. In a wonderful surprise, the graduates’ guest of honor, His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Republic of the Maldives to the European Union, Mr. Hassan Sobir appeared via video link. A supporter of the program from its very beginnings, the Ambassador had been the guest of honor at its first Graduation Ceremony. His Excellency reassured the graduates remarking that in Chinese the word for “Chaos” is the same word as “Divine Opportunity”. He exhorted them to take advantage of the shutdown to improve and enhance their career opportunities. He urged them to use their compulsory homestays to take on-line courses in everything from design, photography, self-development, or to even learn a new language. He exhorted the graduates to stay healthy, stay strong, and stay safe.
His Excellency finished his video talk by saluting Armando Kraenzlin. Friends for more than 20 years, he assured the Swiss-born hotelier that the chocolate in Belgium where he serves as Ambassador to the E.U. is no match for that of Switzerland. Unquestionably, there is no match for Armando Kraeznlin’s dedication and devotion to the rising stars in hospitality created by his singular Apprenticeship program.
Pool Villa at Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavu
About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Founded in 1960, Four Seasons defines luxury hospitality with imagination, quality, and the most genuine and customized service. It has an unwavering commitment to the communities it serves at its 92 hotels, private residences, and resort destinations in 38 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com
Armando Kraenzlin, Founder of Four Seasons Maldives Apprenticeship Program Photo Cred. Four Seasons