Chhean Chanthavy, A Giver Rather Than a Taker

Thavy, 32, is the manager of The Columns hotel in Kampot and now also the town’s first female certified national trainer in hospitality. Thavy is the second child and the youngest daughter in her family. She went to university in Phnom Penh and completed her bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 2009.

In 2011, Thavy started working for her sister’s business, The Columns Hotel, after it was renovated. At that time, Thavy did not have any knowledge in hospitality and had to learn the skills by herself through friends, guests, as well as through a cycle of trial-and-error.   For the past 8 years, she had been looking for a short, practical and part-time training course to enhance her knowledge which would enable her to apply in operating the hotel and train her staff.  However, she could not find anything available in the province nor in the country.

When HoKa team first met with Thavy, she was involved in conducting some basic training for her staff at the hotel. Even though she is very busy with her business, she is always willing to share her knowledge and skills with friends and colleagues from other hotels/restaurants in Kampot.  She became enthusiastic when she heard of HoKa and that it was designed based on ASEAN standard. She was eager to apply trainings based on ASEAN standard in her business and share this knowledge with others who were in a similar situation like herself.  Thavy told the HoKa team, “I have been looking for this type of short training courses for years!”.

In May 2018, she registered to be one of the HoKa local industry trainers.  In July 2018, she joined a six-day Training of Trainers (ToT) on Food & Beverage service, in which she stood first among the trainees. A certificate was then awarded to her in August 2018 from the Ministry of Tourism.

Thavy, since then, has delivered trainings to 45 low-skilled staff (including 2 from her own business) from 23 hotels and restaurants in Kampot for twelve weeks from August to November 2018. Throughout the process, Swisscontact supported her to prepare and deliver the training– both in the technical content and training methodologies.

With the support from Swisscontact, Thavy has acquired knowledge on hospitality she needed to apply in her business, build capacity and experience as a professional trainer, and fulfil her vision to support others in the hospitality sector.  As a business owner, Thavy also has seen the impact of HoKa training on her hotel as her staff are now able to provide efficient and higher quality services to the customers.  Because of the success of HoKa training, she was invited by the Kampot Department of Tourism to provide hospitality training to other SMEs in Kampot.

Thavy told Swisscontact that “With the support from Swisscontact through the HoKa training programme, I had the opportunity to gain hospitality knowledge and skills that is aligned with the national and ASEAN standards. Hence I could apply it in my business and share with other hospitality workers in Kampot.”