A young graduate of a life-changing employability programme will be attending AHIF to describe how he went from an orphan with limited life chances to a chef in a top hotel, economically independent and supporting his siblings.

Dalitso Mwanza left school to look for work to help his grandmother provide for her six orphaned grandchildren, but a lack of skills meant he struggled to find employment.
Dalitso was supported by SOS Children’s Villages which introduced him to the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) an employability programme which partners with local hotels and gives disadvantaged young people the chance to learn a range of skills throughout a variety of departments.

The programme at Radisson Blu Lusaka, Zambia, supported Dalitso to discover a talent for work in the kitchen. His dedication and enthusiasm throughout the training and mentoring process convinced managers to offer him a role once the programme was completed, giving him a future he could never have envisaged before.
Dalitso said, “I gained so much from the programme. I’ve heard it said that any tool is put to good use if done so with pride and skill. The skills I learned at the hotel have helped me start to build a career, but also become financially independent so I can support myself and my family.”

Now Dalitso is coming to AHIF (Africa Hotel Investment Forum) to showcase his skills at the event hosted by Radisson Blu Kigali, but also to highlight the value the hospitality industry can bring to partnerships with programmes like YCI.

Marius Wolmarans, General Manager, Radisson Blu Lusaka said, “In Zambia, where unemployment is an everyday reality for young people, it is important to remember that for every employment opportunity we create, we can feed multiple mouths. It is easy to donate money, time, equipment; but this is short-lived. If we can provide young people with the skills they need to build a career, we enable them to build better futures for themselves and their communities.”

Radisson Blu Hotels and parent company Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group are a global partner of YCI and successfully participate the employability programme in seven countries.

YCI is rapidly expanding in the region having already helped over 4,350 young people around the world to develop skills and take the first step in their career. 85% of these young people have gone on to find work or pursue further education.

Hotels like Radisson Blu Kigali are part of the success story as they will begin partnering YCI in 2018, but more hotels are needed and financial support of the charitable programme is essential. Just US$1,000 will enable YCI to support one disadvantaged young person into work and local businesses can help fund the programme here.
One business which is already helping YCI carry out its award-winning work is Bench Events, the organisers of AHIF.

CEO Jonathan Worsley said, “One of the great things about the hospitality industry is that it is possible to build a career by starting at the very bottom and working one’s way to the very top. The great thing about YCI is that it is helping thousands of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to put their foot on the first rung of that ladder. I am so looking forward to meeting General Managers whose careers began with a leg up from YCI. I am also very much looking forward to meeting AHIF delegates who have committed to back this vision too.”

Inge Huijbrechts, Global VP Responsible Business, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said, “The Youth Career Initiative is a programme that has an important positive impact on the lives of the graduates and their families, and through its global impact, it also contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 8, Good jobs and economic growth. We are proud to be a key YCI partner and will continue to grow our participation.”

Notes for Editors

YCI is the hotel industry’s global solution to youth unemployment. The programme enables the hotel sector to support local communities whilst building a pipeline of skilled and motivated talent to recruit from.

For more information about YCI and for success stories of graduates around the world, visit http://www.event.benchevents.com/e/106592/-/2fyg6t/152061880 A full list of funders and supporters can be found here.

YCI is an initiative of the International Tourism Partnership.

ITP drives responsible business in the hospitality industry by engaging with the world’s leading hotel companies.

ITP is an initiative of Business in the Community.

BITC is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. It’s members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to building a fairer society and a more sustainable future. It are a business-led, issue focused charity with more than 30 years’ experience of mobilising business. It engages thousands of businesses through programmes driven by a core membership of over 800 organisations from small enterprises to global corporations.

The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) is the only annual hotel investment conference that connects business leaders from the international and local markets. The event brings together leaders in the hotel investment community that drive investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across Africa.
Bench Events has a long track record of collaborating with its partners to deliver premier hotel investment events across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Bench Events’ Chairman, Jonathan Worsley, was one of the founders of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) which is now in its eighteenth year.

Sponsors of AHIF are: Host Sponsors: Rwanda Development Board; Platinum Sponsors: AccorHotels, Hilton, Marriott International and The Rezidor Hotel Group; Gold Sponsors: Areen Design, Best Western, Cabo International Partners B.V., Colliers International, Grant Thornton, Horwath HTL, Hotel Partners Africa, Insignia, JLL, Kempinski, Minor Hotels, Mövenpick, Profica, STR, Swiss Education Group and Wyndham Worldwide.

About Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel companies and includes 1,440 hotels in operation and under development with more than 230,000 rooms and a footprint spanning 115 countries and territories. The Carlson Rezidor portfolio includes a powerful set of global brands: Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Radisson RED, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM. Guests can benefit from Club CarlsonSM, a program that redefines hotel rewards with a collection of exceptional benefits, services, and privileges at more than 1,000 hotels worldwide. Over 95,000 people are employed in Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group hotel systems and the company is headquartered in Minneapolis, Singapore, and Brussels.

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