The college offers training with hotels such as Raffles Hotel Le Royal, InterContinental, Himawari and Sunway.
What does it offer?
The college, which opened only in June 2007, offers hospitality training courses varying in length from three to 12 months.
Courses include travel agency, encompassing air ticketing and tour operations; tour guiding; hotel hospitality, including front-office training, housekeeping, hotel operations and hotel management; food production, including bakery, pastry, Western and Asian cookery; bartending; restaurant service, including restaurant operation and management; tour design; flight attending; and foreign languages for tourism.
Running the show
The college director, Suon Rany, was previously the dean of the Graduate School of Tourism and Hospitality at Build Bright University. He has also served as the director of the Legal Affairs Division at the Ministry of Tourism and as a consultant to the tourism minister, which he said has given him a solid insight into the training needs of the sector.
He graduated from high school in Cambodia in 1987, after which he studied economics and agriculture in the former Soviet Union on a full scholarship. A passion for the tourism sector saw him start a second undergraduate major in tourism management in 1991. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1996. He completed a post graduate diploma in tourism management the following year and a earned a PhD in economic science, specialising in tourism management, in 2000. He has worked in the hospitality sector since 1994.
Students wishing to attend the college must be at least 15 and pass an entrance exam testing their general knowledge and foreign language skills. They are also assessed on their hobbies and skills to determine which area of the hospitality sector best suits their personality and experience.
Suon Ray said students have included everyone from high school graduates to housewives and uneducated peasants. There are currently 434 students studying at the college.
Fees, scholarships and grants
The fee for a three-month course is $165 and longer courses are priced from $300, depending on the course and the duration. Scholarships are offered to talented applicants who are unable to pay for tuition, but the students must sign a form agreeing to be fully committed to their studies. The school has to date offered full scholarships to more than 85 students.
Onwards and upwards
The school has only been running for 20 months, but has already secured lucrative training deals with famed Phnom Penh hospitality institutions such as Raffles Hotel Le Royal, The InterContinental, Himawari and Sunway Hotel.
It also has an office dedicated to helping students find jobs in the sector. Suon Rany reckons the school's graduate placement rate is nearly 100 percent as a result of its close affiliation with the major hotels.
Records show 434 people have graduated from the school, consisting of 265 men and 169 women.
The school is planning to move to a bigger campus in the near future, which Suon Rany expects will allow it to increase enrolment between 80 and 90 percent on current levels.
The existing campus offers free accommodation for male students, but Suon Rany said there were no plans at this stage to offer similar accommodation for female students.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY MAY KUNMAKARA
Career College of Tourism and Hospitality
#270, Street 156, Sangkat Toek, Laak II, Khan Toul Kork, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Tel: 855 (0) 12 648 810
From the Career College of Tourism and Hospitality
Oul Serey Vuthna, professor of Asian-European cooking and bakery pastry skills: "The college offers practical skills to people from poor backgrounds with little formal education and gives them the right skills to get a job. While some of the courses are short, when students finish at the school, most of them can easily find a job in a good workplace. Moreover, many of the students don't want to work for someone else: they want to operate their own business."
Oum Davy, 22, from Kampong Thom province: "I am studying in the field of Front Office for three months. Currently I am a superior student at Norton University majoring in accounting but I am from the provinces so I need to find money to support my study. This short course offers me job opportunities as a receptionist or cashier. Moreover, this job gives me the chance to apply for an accounting position when I graduate, so it paves the way for my future."
Siem Soth, 20, from a farming family in Kandal province: "I have been studying in the field of pastry cookery for more than a month. I think the school charges low fees. I study in this field because I want to get a job in a hotel or restaurant, as I just finished secondary school and my family is so poor. The school has good knowledge of my field of study, with full practice in famous hotels and restaurants in Phnom Penh. I hope that after I finish, I will get a good job."