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Alexandra from The Alexander Hotel


Alexandra Harutyunyan
Alexandra Harutyunyan

Photo: Mediamax

Alexandra Harutyunyan
Alexandra Harutyunyan

Photo: Mediamax

Alexandra Harutyunyan
Alexandra Harutyunyan

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Alexandra Harutyunyan
Alexandra Harutyunyan

Photo: Mediamax

Gohar Malkhasyan
Gohar Malkhasyan

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax


Alexandra Harutyunyan has been attracted to the hotel world – the one of hosting people, taking care of their rest and comfort - since childhood. Her mother worked in a hotel business for many years and often took her to work with her. At that time, the girl, who was curiously exploring the “secret” corners of “for staff only” area, could hardly imagine that at 18, while still receiving her education, she would already be working at one of the best five-star hotels in Yerevan – The Alexander.

 

Alexandra got this opportunity thanks to the dual education model introduced at the Yerevan State College of Humanities: three days a week she gets theoretical knowledge at the college and the rest two days works in her specialty.

 

The hotel is an interesting and attractive world

 

At the age of 15, I entered the Yerevan State College of Humanities, Tourism Services Organization Department with advanced foreign language studies. My choice was based on my interest in the service sector. Today I can confidently say that it was the best choice, as in the college I received not only professional knowledge, but also the opportunity to apply it in practice.

Alexandra Harutyunyan Alexandra Harutyunyan

Photo: Mediamax

During the first year, we studied by the high school program, after which we switched to professional subjects: management, marketing, organisation of hotel services, etc.

 

There was another decisive factor in choosing the college: I knew from the fourth year that I would do an internship in a hotel which is a very interesting, attractive world for me. My mother worked in the hotel business for many years and often took me there when I was a child. Her colleagues were telling me interesting stories, showed the guest rooms and other corners, but what attracted me the most was the office section of for staff only area (smiles - ed.). I liked to watch carefully how the hotel employees communicate with the guests, trying to make their stay there as comfortable as possible.

 

The dual education model in the service sector

 

Yerevan State College of Humanities has introduced the dual education model. It implies work-based learning. In other words, at some stage, we spend three days a week in the college, two in the organisations where we do internships. Since September of this year, three other students and I have been spending every Friday at The Alexander Hotel, working in different departments.

Photo: Mediamax

This kind of training, especially in the service sector, has numerous benefits. The dual education model gives us the opportunity to become a ready specialist while in the process of studying, to have work experience, which is so important when applying for a job. Usually, there is no need to look for another job, because the organisation that participates in the student’s education prefers to keep a specialist who meets all its requirements. For example, we too have received offers to continue working here in the future. After examining all the departments of the hotel, we will decide which one is the most interesting and closest to our hearts.

 

Friday is different

 

Going to The Alexander Hotel on Fridays differs first of all in clothing. If the other days we can come to college looking as ordinary students, on Fridays we wear a classic white shirt and pants, and neatly combed hair. The Alexander is one of the five-star luxury hotels in Armenia, and the employees must fully comply with the requirements in terms of clothing, speech and attitude.

Alexandra Harutyunyan Alexandra Harutyunyan

Photo: Mediamax

Hotel employees should not wear too bright, eye-catching jewelry, they should use as little and natural makeup as possible. Shoes must be black, and the height of the heel must not exceed the established standards.

 

Of course, each department may also have specific requirements.

 

Ability to orient quickly and professional knowledge

 

One of the hallmarks of luxury hotels is the guests. You can often meet very interesting people and want to do your best to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

 

Besides, mostly very busy people stay in such high class hotels, and the staff must be ready to quickly fulfill their requests.

Photo: Mediamax

One of the guests once approached me, quickly gave a task and left. It was not part of my duty, but it was clear that he was in a hurry and was to get out of the created situation. He did not notice that I was wearing a “Trainee” badge and was not from the main staff of the hotel. Anyway, since we had been engaged in the work of different departments of the hotel before, I oriented quickly and got his request fulfilled. Such cases increase your self-confidence (smiles - ed.).

 

The knowledge gained in the college also helps a lot during work. We study a number of professional programs. We also know three foreign languages, in my case these are English, Russian, German. Before passing to a work in a hotel, we get familiarised with its structure and services in a separate module.

 

Alexandra from The Alexander Hotel

 

The story between me and The Alexander Hotel is very interesting. When I had just entered the college, every time passing by the hotel, I was turning to the people with me, saying: “I wish I could work here one day and be Alexandra from The Alexander Hotel” (smiles - ed.).

Alexandra Harutyunyan Alexandra Harutyunyan

Photo: Mediamax

Imagine how happy I was when handing out practice locations, my lecturer said, “Alexandra is going to The Alexander.” First, our names matched, secondly, I really wanted to specialize in such a high-class hotel. I hope to continue working here after finishing my education.

 

Dual education system educates qualified, in-demand and competitive specialists

 

Since 2017,Gohar Malkhasyan, a senior lecturer at the Yerevan State College of Humanities, has been engaged in the working group set up by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, in order to develop dual education. She notes that it is very important for all the circles participating in this education model - educational institutions, students and private organizations - see its advantages.

Gohar Malkhasyan Gohar Malkhasyan

Photo: Mediamax

Even before the introduction of the dual system, we paid a lot of attention to practical learning in the college, that is, the student learned by doing. Today we continue to adhere to the same principle already with the support of our partners. It is very important to work properly with private companies and to “convince” them that by participating in the education of students today, they are educating qualified employees for them. We already have stable partnerships with a number of organisations. For example, 5 of our students have already started working at The Alexander Hotel. This education model is so effective that often the participating organisation wants to keep the student, but the latter receives a better offer from another company in the market. In other words, this approach educates qualified, in-demand and competitive specialists.

 

* MAVETA program started on December 3, 2021, with a preparatory phase that has been successfully summarized in August 2022. The 1st main phase of implementation started afterwards, which will last until August 2025 with total budget of CHF 8.3 million.

 

The project is funded by a broad coalition of international and local organizations led by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), including the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of Armenia, and Izmirlian Foundation. The project’s implementing partners are the GIZ, the Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER) NGO, the Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO, the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (HAFL)and Vanand Agro CJSC.

 

Yana Shakhramanyan

 

Photos by Emin Aristakesyan

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