Five Kenyan graduates from a leading hospitality and tourism training college in Nairobi have arrived in Jersey, increasing the number of qualified staff working in the hospitality industry this season.
All are graduates from the Kenya Utalii College and were brought over by GR8 to work in the Royal Yacht. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, each member of the team has spent ten days isolation in Ghana before travelling to the island in line with UK and Jersey rules on travel.
Ghana is on the amber list of countries meaning that all five were tested on arrival in Jersey and on days 5 and 10. They all self-isolated until they received their day 5 negative test result.
The group arrived before changes to the Safer Travel Policy were announced and are now working in the hotel ahead of the expected increase in visitors from the UK and other countries.
GR8 has been providing solutions to hospitality businesses who are facing a shortage of available people to work during the summer season. It does this through its online recruitment portal specifically set up to help the hospitality industries in the Channel Islands and by forging links with world-class colleges in other countries including Bulgaria, Barbados, the Philippines and Rwanda. So far this season, 16 are already working in Jersey and Guernsey, two are in transit, with a further 28 waiting for work permits.
Lee Madden, Managing Director of GR8, has been working with Utalii College for a number of years: “When I visited the faculty in Nairobi, I experienced the exacting standards demanded by the college and saw first-hand how hard the students work. We believe in making connections and we have built up a strong relationship with our hospitality colleagues in Kenya.
“Over the last few years, we have supported a large number of Kenyans who have come to work in the Channel Islands, but the last 18 months have made the process of bringing them over extremely difficult. When Kenya turned red, we found a way to bring people over that was safe, cost effective and provided the industry with dedicated and professional team members. The situation is constantly changing, but GR8 have the experience and knowledge to overcome the obstacles that have made the last 18 months so difficult for many businesses and islanders.”
The five Kenyans have taken up roles within the hotel and will be here under a permit scheme for workers from outside the Common Travel Area.
Claudio Abreu, Head of Operations at The Royal Yacht, said: “We know that the quality of training received by students at the Kenya Utalii College is excellent. Thanks to GR8 we have been able to welcome our new team members and we are looking forward to working with them this season. It has been extremely difficult to find the right people to work in our industry, but we are fortunate that there are routes still available to bring people over who we know will be a huge hit with our guests who value professional and friendly service when they stay with us or use our bars and restaurants.”