Within the halls of the German Hotel School (GHS) El Gouna, high school students learn the ins and outs of the hospitality industry, how to understand and adapt to the needs of the traveler of tomorrow
Tucked away in El Gouna lies a glimpse into the future of hospitality education. Within the halls of the German Hotel School (GHS) El Gouna, high school students learn the ins and outs of the hospitality industry, how to understand and adapt to the needs of the traveler of tomorrow, and leveraging new technologies to do so.
Islam Kindsvater - Headmaster of the German Hotel School, El Gouna
“In the Egyptian hospitality industry, there are a lot of employees without a fundamental education,” says Islam Kindsvater, Headmaster of the German Hotel School. “[To combat this] GHS offers a wide range of courses and trainings tailored to the requirements of the local 4- and 5-star hotel industry to improve the national service level and intensify the language skills of hotel staff.”
Digitization and the pandemic have heavily influenced changes in customers’ needs and desires as tourism picks up in the wake of several global challenges, and hotels are looking to establish and integrate new practices and technologies to meet new demands.
Today, those seeking to work in the hospitality industry are looking for realistic expectations and depictions of the current hotel industry in order to prepare themselves for the recovering global tourism sector; to meet that demand and boost Egypt’s capabilities as a whole, the German Hotel School has designed a curriculum for hospitality students and employees of the future.
The main distinction between GHS and other schools is its focus on a German education, with an emphasis on the language. All classes related to the hotel and hospitality industry are taught in German, through extensive courses during students’ first 6 weeks at the school.
“The technical subjects with the basics for their profession, such as hygiene, occupational safety, accident prevention, environmental protection, kitchen, restaurant and housekeeping skills are taught in German by our specialized German staff,” Kindsvater explained to Business Today.
Courtesy of the German Hotel School El Gouna
Real working experience is a priority for the school. GHS follows the German dual education system which combines apprenticeships and a vocational education; second and third years at GHS spend one week at school and two weeks in hotels across El Gouna and Hurghada for practical training.
Aside from GHS’s vocational education, the school provides classes on national subjects, allowing students to graduate with both a German and Egyptian diploma.
“At the end of their training period at the GHS, students earn an international accredited diploma from the German Chamber of Industry & Commerce in Leipzig (IHK) as well as their ‘Technical Secondary School’ certificate by the Egyptian Ministry of Education,” he said, adding that this prepares students with the best fundamentals for the Egyptian and international job market.
Founded in 2002 as a joint project between Orascom Holding and the Egyptian German Academy for Economy and Technology in cooperation with IHK, El Gouna and Hurghada Hotels, the school is operated by German education provider Rahn Education. It is currently owned by the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development since 2017, making it one of the first family foundations dedicated to social development established in the country.
Since its development, GHS has established itself as a school with a record of high employability.
“Most of our students are offered an employment contract after graduating from GHS,” Kindsvater noted.
Courtesy of the German Hotel School El Gouna
Working with big hotel chains such as Steigenberger, Mövenpick, Sheraton, Labranda Hotels and Orascom Hotels, GHS students are able to get practical real-world training and experiences to support their education. Other long-term partners are Misr El Kheir, and Al Ahram Beverages Company (under authority of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism).
Graduates from GHS have moved on to work in places such as the Four Seasons Dubai, Narcissus Olaya in Ryad, Intercity Hamburg, and Germany’s Waldhotel Rheinbach, with positions ranging from reservation managers to Managing Directors and Vice Presidents of Management Boards.
“The German Hotel School El Gouna provides well-skilled staff for the tourism industry. It offers fast learning in a practical orientated surrounding and sets the basis for the theoretical and practical knowledge. It is important to keep up with the international standards. Therefore, the vocational training in our school is controlled regularly by the IHK Leipzig. Moreover, our school is certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2015, an internationally recognized quality system,” the headmaster pointed out.
To ensure that students are able to navigate the modern hospitality industry, GHS puts an emphasis on upgrading its facilities to reflect the industry’s more up-to-date locations and workplaces.
The GHS facility boasts a dormitory complex for 145 students, spacious classrooms with a maximum of 24 students per lesson, a contemporary kitchen workshop with advanced and up-to-date equipment, an adjacent restaurant and a 5-star hotel room for training purposes including a modern training room for Front Office & Reservation with an integrated computer-lab.
These locations are essential to providing students with practical lessons on the international standards of Kitchen, Service and Housekeeping practices.
“Kitchen training takes place in the new state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, which was completed in August 2020 with high-quality technology and a very high safety and energy-saving aspect to ensure sustainable education of GHS students for the future. The teaching kitchen was conceived and designed by school experts with foresight for the future,” explained Kindsvater.
“In our modern training restaurant, students learn to set and decorate tables, greet guests, make recommendations for food and beverage selections, and take orders. They also learn to expertly serve food and beverages as well as design menus and prepare for special events such as weddings or banquets,” he added.
The new modern training area is complete with a 5-star hotel room as well as a reception and lobby bar, to practice various situations that could happen, both common and uncommon, in the day-to-day of any hotel.
When asked about what skills and qualities need to be cultivated by students and industry professionals, Kindsvater said “Looking ahead, important skills like teamwork, dealing with different guests from different cultures and backgrounds, self-confidence, and of course higher technical knowledge like computer skills need to be cultivated” alongside providing students with international internships as an important element to their success.