Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Youth in Cambodia are one step closer to gaining professional culinary experience and expanding their work opportunities. With the Academy of Culinary Arts in Cambodia, SHIFT360 and the Swiss Hotel Management Academy Luzern (SHL) are working together to raise the capacity and skills of Cambodia’s young people through world-class hospitality training that Switzerland is known for.
On 16 September, 2015, Pierre Tami of SHIFT360 and Timo Albiez, Vice Director of SHL, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the SHL Academy in Lucerne, Switzerland. As the technical training partner for the Academy of Culinary Arts in Cambodia (ACAC), SHL brings over 100 years of experience in the hospitality sector and its applied academic approach. Already SHL is developing curriculum for ACAC that aligns with ASEAN and Swiss standards. SHL has also helped recruit ACAC’s Dean and advised on the school’s kitchen design with famous Swiss kitchen designer Theo Würsch.
Established in 1909 as a non-profit foundation, SHL has over a century of hospitality experience and is recognized globally for its professionalism and quality. In 2013, SHL opened a regional office in Singapore to learn from Asian culture and hospitality and share its knowledge. Now, SHL is poised to bring its expertise in applied hospitality management education to Cambodia through ACAC.
While Cambodia has significantly changed in recent years, the country still faces challenges in developing a human capital base that is responsive to the needs of the labour market.
“When analyzing current opportunities in education and training for tourism in Cambodia, it is obvious that the country does not have an adequate infrastructure to meet current and future skills needs,” says Pierre Tami, CEO of Shift 360. “This puts Cambodia at a significant disadvantage alongside its ASEAN neighbours and broader international competitors.
The 2015 World Economic Forum Global Tourism Competitiveness report ranked Cambodia 105 out of 139 countries.
“The Academy (ACAC) must set standards that are currently unavailable in Cambodia in order to support the upgrading and development of hospitality and tourism standards,” says Tami. “This agreement between the Academy and SHL is the beginning of a world-class school that will address these skills deficits in a country virtually devoid of technical and vocational education and training for hospitality and tourism.”
ACAC in partnership with SHL will train 200 culinary staff each year who will then help meet the rapidly growing demand for skilled workers in Cambodia’s hospitality sector.
“SHL is very proud to be the technical partner of ACAC project,” said Bart Ferwerda, Regional Director for SHL Asia. “SHL can bring in its knowledge in conceptual work (curricula), train the trainer programs and the dual approach of learning: As much theoretical learning as needed – As much practical learning as possible. This unique approach provides future students with an excellent education and enables young people to enter the working world with a big ruck-sack of knowhow, knowledge and very importantly, a lot of practical experience.”
“ACAC’s partnership with SHL will give young Cambodians new opportunities for their future,” said Pierre Tami, Executive Director of Shift360. “SHL’s expertise in the culinary arts will raise the skill level of young Cambodians in the workforce, expand their employment prospects and make them more competitive in the whole region.”
“ACAC’s focus is giving young people an opportunity for change,” said Ferwerda. “This is SHL’s approach as well – giving young people the chance to take their own professional future in their own hands.”
For more information about the Academy of Culinary Arts – Cambodia visit http://www.shift360.ch/en/acac/about-acac/
 International Labour Organisation. Labour and Social Trends Report 2010. Online at: www.ilo.org/asia/whatwedo/publications/WCMS_149758/lang–en/index.htm
 World Economic Forum Global Tourism Competitiveness Report. 2015. Online at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/TT15/WEF_Global_Travel&Tourism_Report_2015.pdf