Interview with IBTE’s School of Hospitality & Tourism

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Photography by Riley Khoo

The IBTE School of Hospitality and Tourism Management currently teaches  314 students in Brunei. The school offers practical courses and real life attachment programmes to give students a headstart in their careers. In this issue, we find out more about what they have to offer.

What type of courses does IBTE’s School of Hospitality & Tourism provide for students interested in a career in the F&B industry?
We have three courses related to the Catering Industry: HNTec in Hospitality Operations, NTec in Culinary Operations and NTec Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery and Services. These programmes focus on enhancing the students’ food and beverage knowledge; refining their food preparation and restaurant service skills; and expanding their expertise in areas of training such as Barista, Pastry and Bakery. Furthermore, it also includes the rooms division of the hotel industry; Front Office Operations and Housekeeping Operations.

How can the local F&B industry get involved in, support or benefit from your Hospitality & Tourism Programme?
Firstly, the private sector can engage with our students by collaborating in one off projects and events. An example of this is when Brunei Halal approached us to assist them in promoting their products by having our students cook and create different dishes from the menu at the Longhouse Restaurant.

Secondly, there is the Apprenticeship Training Committee (ATC)/ Programme Development Examination Committee (PDEC)/ Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which enable establishments to participate in ongoing collaborations, development and training programmes which the school runs. As it stands, we have 11 Industry partners who are actively participating in our programmes and courses on offer.

And thirdly, there is the Continuous Education Training (CET) / Job Centre Brunei (Agensi Pekerjaan Tempatan Dan Pembangunan Tenaga, APTK) which offers short courses coordinated by CET/APTK for unemployed residents who wish to upgrade their skills in either the Restaurant Service or Kitchen Preparation Skills.

Your Long House Training Restaurant is opened to the public serving international buffet lunch from just $8. The last time we visited business seemed to be thriving with full occupancy. What is the vision behind this programme?
The Longhouse Training Restaurant runs a fully operational kitchen mimicking the restaurant industry to provide real-life experience for the students. The restaurant exposes students to practical experience by engaging them with real customers. We are certainly grateful that the initiative has received a great deal of public attention and support, which creates awareness of the school’s training facilities.

What advice would you give to existing restaurants that want to improve their level of customer service?
Restaurants have to recognise customer service as part of their product, not just the food and beverage offered on the menu. They have to prioritise and incorporate customer service into their training, through their daily operations. For example, by having briefings with their staff prior to service; and also through customer service training programmes. Furthermore, correct skills and proficiency contribute towards effective customer service in the restaurant, therefore, training in skill competencies is also essential to creating and improving customer service.

This article was published in the Jan-Feb 2017 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!