The trailblazing Fari Islands development in the Maldives has welcomed the first cohort of students to its Vocational Education & Training (VET) centre, delivered in partnership with one of the world's most prestigious hotel schools, the renowned Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL).

The first of their kind, the courses represent a ground-breaking opportunity for the most ambitious and talented workers to develop the vocational competencies, knowledge and mindset required to thrive as a professional in the hotel and restaurant sectors of the hospitality industry.

The three-year courses will yield internationally recognised diplomas signed and issued by the EHL, and recognised by the Maldives Qualification Authority, offering local talent a realistic, credible alternative to hotel schools in Europe. 

Mr Mohamed Rasheed, Director of HR at the flagship Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, said of the scheme: “We are delighted to be spearheading this initiative, which is the first of its kind, bringing internationally accredited hotel and hospitality training to the Maldives.

“True to the spirit of Patina and the Fari Islands, the pioneering scheme aims to bring a fresh approach to resourcing, training and HR, and to nurturing young talent on the ground in the Maldives. Together with EHL, we are committed to providing an enriching pathway to success for those who wish to rise to their full potential in hospitality management.”

Using content developed in Switzerland, the modular course curriculum blends 'on the job' training with classroom learning and assessments. Pathways on offer in the 2022/23 academic year are a six-month Foundation Module in Food & Beverage Service and Hotel Foundation Certificate, which is followed by a further two six-month modules, Intermediate and Advanced, before students graduate with a Professional Diploma.

Courses are taken from May – October, meaning the total duration of the Diploma programme is three years. 14 students were chosen on a selective basis to undertake this inaugural course, and are fully sponsored by Patina Maldives, which covers tuition fees and course materials.

The programme will be developed from 2023 with the addition of further diploma programmes in the areas of Culinary, Rooms Division, F&B Service, Hotel Administration and Hotel Communications, with a total intake of 30 students per cohort invited to take part from the Fari Islands properties. The final phase of the initiative will see the scheme opened to all Maldivian nationals, once the programme is fully established. 

Training is delivered by EHL-accredited department managers and department supervisors. The four-island archipelago of the Fari islands, developed by Pontiac Land Group, launched last year with the opening of Patina Maldives, the inaugural resort of a new lifestyle brand by the Capella Hotel Group, and the Ritz Carlton Maldives. A third resort, a Capella hotel, is scheduled to open in 2025.

Notably, the development includes an island dedicated entirely to the Fari Campus, a revolutionary purpose-built mix of staff housing and facilities that seeks to bring a sea-change to employee accommodation and wellbeing in the Maldives. Designed by Gaurang Khemka, founder of award-winning architectural and urban planning firm URBNarc, the spacious Fari Campus offers generous, comfortable living spaces and a full suite of recreational facilities and amenities, as well as the benefit of abundant outdoor areas, including the entire coastline of the island.

It was designed to foster a sense of belonging and kinship, with intuitive communal spaces inspired by traditional Maldivian communities, crafted to meet the varying needs of its residents. The VET course offering and sponsorship programme further underlines the commitment of Patina Maldives and the Fari Islands to attracting and retaining the best local talent, whilst nurturing careers and offering the opportunity for team members to reach their full potential.