“From semester one the students will be getting practical skills and by the time they finish school, they will have the skills,” Cook said.
The hotel industry is one of the world's largest employers, and one of the fastest growing sectors in Uganda but Ugandans continue to miss out due to lack of skills.
According to Mathew Mathai Kattampackal, the Vice Chancellor of the International Business, Science and Technology (ISBAT) University, Ugandans are hospitable people, which is an advantage to them to work in the hotel industry but lack of skills is holding them back.
"Majority of the jobs in the hotels are taken by foreigners because Ugandans lack the skills. Even in the outside world there is a big opportunity if you have the skills," Kattampackal said.
He said this on Tuesday at Protea Hotel in Kampala, during ISBAT's launching of a new course in Hotel Management. Known as the Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM), the programme is accredited by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and will take up to four years to complete.
Besides the new course, the University currently focuses on over 20 niche courses as accredited by National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), at the Bachelors and Masters levels.
"Ugandans are so good and hospitable but they lack technical and practical skills which we want to emphasise so that more Ugandans get jobs in the industry," Kattampackal said.
To deliver the course effectively, the university will partner with Protea Hotels for practical part of the course.
Stuart Cook, the managing director Protea Hotel said that such partnership will help polish students with the required skills in hotel management.
"From semester one the students will be getting practical skills and by the time they finish school, they will have the skills," Cook said.
He noted that it is good for Ugandans to get skills and get the jobs.
"We don't want to build hotels and fill them with foreign expatriates. We want to see Ugandans taking these jobs and all I can say we will do anything in our means to train you," Cook said.
Currently the course has about 20 students but the number is expected to grow.
The hotel industry has a role to play in engaging young people, showing them the opportunity in the industry, and offering them employability training.
Uganda is renowned for its hospitable people but to harness more from this God given gift, Ugandan need to be armed with skills that matter in the sector.