UNICEF Egypt and Le Meridien Cairo Airport have teamed up to help young graduates gain crucial workplace skills through their ground-breaking apprenticeship in hospitality.  
The initiative is jointly implemented by UNICEF, Le Meridien Cairo Airport and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and according to Said Dalla Abou Senna, Private Sector Partnership Specialist at UNICEF, it ‘shows how the private sector can help in combatting the huge unemployment problem of youth in Egypt.’

Le Meridien Cairo Airport approached UNICEF as Starwood Hotels and Resorts' global charity partner to work on the exciting new initiative. The hotel management were able to select young people involved in UNICEF’s existing youth development projects in Egypt, who then started a three month internship working in the hotel’s four main departments: operations, administration, engineering and human resources. As well as this, the young graduates had the opportunity to improve their English language skills and be mentored by experienced hotel staff members who recounted their career paths.

The programme has already made a great impact on the young graduates’ lives and outlook. ‘I’ve spent three weeks at the front office department, dealing with all sorts of clients and personalities,’ said Rana Yasser, 24, who was born with a speech impairment disability. ‘It has taught me a lot, not just about hotel management but about being patient, witty and efficient’. At the end of the internship programme and with the name of Le Meridien Cairo Airport Hotel on their CVs, the young people involved now feel confident in their abilities and in their chances when applying for jobs.

For three of the eight young interns there was even more great news at the end of the internship – they were offered permanent jobs at Le Meridien Cairo Airport and are now part of the hotel’s staff.

This programme is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when Starwood hotels work with UNICEF to improve young people’s lives. For the young graduates reached through this programme, it offered them a crucial first step into a long and successful career in the hospitality business.

Image copyright: UNICEF. Young graduates learning key skills at Le Meridien Cairo Airport.