Hospitality training school Sala Baï plans to open a training spa and beauty centre next year with input from Chanel.
The French-run school trains students to work in hotel restaurants, but the director, Claude Colombié, says high end spas are an emerging sector that the school hopes to cater for.
“We’ve done marketing studies in Siem Reap about this specialised field. All the big hotels are now creating high end spa and beauty centres, and they desperately need trained staff. It’s time to create this department at Sala Baï,” Claude says.
The spa and beauty training school will be part of a $1 million expansion of the project.
Sala Baï is negotiating with the vendor of a nearby building to move into a space double the size of the current premises.
The move will allow the project to educate 150 students per year, up 50 per cent from the present output of 100.
The training school runs a restaurant and hotel business that is open to the public and generates 30 per cent of the revenue required to run the school. Claude hopes that by expanding the college, it will be able to generate enough revenue to fund 50 per cent of the project.
“Siem Reap’s tourist market is really expanding. They speak about 3 million tourists this year, and 7 million in 2020. We need to increase our school and be able to train more students,” Claude says.
“We want to increase the sustainability of our program in Cambodia so we need a little bit more restaurant space and more hotel rooms and also more Sala Bai products to sell.”
Funding for the training spa comes from the Chanel Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the luxury fashion house Chanel.
As well as funding, Claude hopes the foundation will help provide training for the students in the spa and beauty section.
Students at the free college come from impoverished areas of Cambodia earning less than less than $1 a day. Within two months of graduating from Sala Baï, 100 per cent of students are employed.
The school has partnered with many of Siem Reap’s top 5-star hotels to provide students with internships and future employment.