Akhil* grew up with his mother and younger sister in India. Akhil studied up to his 7th standard (middle school) but his family struggled financially and fell prey to human traffickers. They were rescued by a local NGO, but being able to earn an income remained a critical issue.

From the very beginning, Akhil was interested to work in hospitality. “I was fascinated to work in the hotel industry. I wanted to earn some money to support my family and really wanted to do something about it.” Akhil, 20 years old, heard about the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance youth employment programme through Kherwadi Social Welfare Association and joined the programme in April 2021. The curriculum was supported by the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) with funding from the United States Government.

The training began with a month of classes. These were held virtually using video conferencing due to the pandemic. The training followed the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance curriculum, which has been specially designed to give trainees the core employability skills to start a career in hospitality and related industries. This included communication and digital skills, financial literacy, introduction to hospitality and English language.

“The classroom training was good. The trainer was calm and friendly, and she explained very well. I was able to grasp quickly and understand the concepts. I learned time management and discipline, and how to handle situations where more than one task is assigned.”

Following the classroom training, Akhil gained a place in a local hotel for his practical training.

“My proudest moment is when I got selected with the partner hotel and got an opportunity to get practical training in housekeeping. I am happy to be a part of this hotel and I am willing to learn as much as I can.”

“I did not have a proper schedule to manage time earlier, but in these few months I have realised the importance of time, responsibility and hard work.” Akhil was keen to learn throughout the experience and thanks to the training, now dreams of his future career path in hospitality. “The training program has helped me to be a courageous and independent individual. I have a strong feeling that the things that I have learned in this training will help me to work towards building my career. I wish to work and make it to a higher position in a top-tiered hotel.”

*Name changed to protect identity.