The kick-off meeting for the Erasmus+ project „Key Skills for European Union Hotel Staff” (Project No.: 2014-1HR01-KA2014-007224) was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia from the 3rd till 4th November 2014. The project meeting was organised by the project coordinator, the Tourism and Catering School Dubrovnik (Croatia) and representatives of all other project partners Primrose Publishing (UK), Ekonomska šola Murska Sobota (Slovenia), IPSSA Nino Bergese (Italy), Universitatea Sapientia din Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Turiba University (Latvia) participated in the meeting.
The project is being implemented at Turiba University by the Department of Languages and the head of the department of Languages. Assoc. prof. Dr.paed Ineta Luka and lecturer Sundars Vaidesvarans were present at the meeting.
The two year project (1st September 2014 – 31st August 2016) is aimed at creating and designing materials that will provide hotel staff, trainees and students a very extensive range of replies to guests’ questions and requests in 12 languages – at the hotel reception, in the hotel restaurants, cafés and bars as well as in other parts of the hotel. On a broader scale all this will be equally valuable to everyone who works in the field of tourism and deals with foreign visitors. The project will also provide the hotel management with ideas and material in 12 languages (EN, IT, HR, LV, Sl, RO, HU, GE, FR, RU, ES, GR) to enable them to provide information to groups of guests, to make presentations, to promote the hotel, to help staff recruitment, to enhance international collaboration and to manage the hotel and the staff more efficiently. The project will also provide a wealth of valuable insights into cultural differences between various European countries and the principal countries outside Europe where visitors come from, with in-depth guidance on what one should do and say, and what one should avoid doing and saying, in different countries and contexts and when talking to foreigners.
The first part of the project will focus on designing teaching/learning materials for professional language learning in the hospitality industry (A2/B1) in 12 different languages. The second part of the project will focus on designing 6 in-depth modules – Hotel front office, Catering services, Conferences and business service, Off-site services, Financial management and Hotel management for English language learning (B2/C1) that are elaborated to gain in-depth knowledge in the field using Open Education Resources (OER) and enhancing students' and employees' English language competence relevant for the field of study and employment as well as promoting employability skills of young people in the tourism and hospitality sector.
The kick-off meeting started with a warm welcome address by the project coordinator. As most of the project partners were acquainted with each other through participation in various other EU projects after just short introductions made at the beginning participants were able to immediately get down to business. The first point on the agenda was to give a brief overview of the project itself, the key outputs and the various milestones of the project in order to ensure that all project members had a common understanding of the main goals and objectives of the project. Preliminary dates were agreed upon for the forthcoming meeting in Romania in April 2015.
The project coordinator then went on to describe the management and coordination framework of the project and participants agreed upon the various reporting templates, means of communication and issues concerning internal quality assurance of the project. Issues regarding dissemination and valorisation of project information and results were also discussed and finalized.
The second day of the meeting started with short presentations by partners on the tourism situation in their respective countries and partners agreed upon the deadlines for an in-depth needs analysis report. Detailed discussions were held on the first project outputs that had to be completed and presented at the next project meeting in Romania and the roles and responsibilities of various partners were once again clarified.
The agenda also included a tour to the host institution where partners had the opportunity to get acquainted with its facilities and enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Croatian colleagues through a delicious traditional Croatian meal prepared and served by the student trainees and a short guided tour of the old city of Dubrovnik conducted by the host institution students.
At the conclusion of the meeting partners reviewed and finalized all the immediate deadlines and bid farewell to each other.
Lecturer of the Department of Languages
Turiba University, Latvia