Lesson in hospitality

A Professional Developed Modules course attended by 40 people last month became the first specialist programme at the new Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai. The academy is creating much interest both through its small courses as well as its main international degree course which takes off in September. CLIVE JACQUES speaks to Principal RON HILVERT on the academy's plans and progress.

Q. What modules made up the development programme?

A. Five modules made up the first course. These included Food and Beverage Trends in the New Millennium, Financial Awareness Programme for Non-financial Hospitality Managers, Managing Service Quality in Hotels and Restaurants, Advanced Kitchen Management and E-nnovation.

Q. When do the first full-time students start at the academy?

A. The first intake will be on September 8 with 30 students enrolling for a four-year course leading to graduation with Bachelor of Science degrees in International Hospitality Management in 2005. A second intake will begin the main course next February.

Q. Why is the academy special?

A. It is the only Middle East establishment of its kind to be running an international degree course in hotel hospitality management. The academy has the same objectives as university-level, educational establishments worldwide and will be of major benefit to the geographic region with Dubai now reputed to be the fastest growing city in the world in the hospitality industry.

Q. Who owns the academy?

A. The project was founded under the umbrella of Jumeirah International, the Dubai group that manages the world famous Burj Al Arab, The Jumeirah Beach, The Jumeirah Beach Club, Emirates Towers and the World Trade Centre hotels. It has been set up in association with the internationally famed century-old Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne in Switzerland.

Q. Will the graduate students be from the hotels?

A. The academy is being run independently of the group's hotels. However with degree students spending two and a half years in Dubai, a year in Switzerland and six months in an international practical internship course, many will undoubtedly find themselves training and long-term employed in the biggest and best hotels worldwide, including some Jumeirah International properties.

Q. Where is the academy?

A. The purpose built headquarters is across the road from the Burj Al Arab Hotel and boasts state of the art facilities with video cameras placed above kitchen ovens and linked on screen with the auditorium for fellow students. Live in students - male and female - will reside in new accommodation alongside the academy.

Q. What are the course charges?

A. The cost of short specialist courses will vary, while live-in student fees will total just over $70,000 for the four-year degree course, the cost including a laptop computer, specialist clothing, plus food and lodgings throughout, including during the one-year studies in Switzerland.

Q. What is your own professional background?

A. I was at one time a vice president for Human Resources with both Hyatt International based in Chicago and the Hilton International Group. I am also a graduate of the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne.