After independence it didn’t take long for the Government of Kenya to realise the potential offered by the tourism sector in the economic development of its country. However, the development of this sector was handicapped due lack of qualified and trained local manpower. And, this realization led to the establishment of The Kenya Utalii College in 1975, which is now the foremost institute of training for tourism and hotel management in Africa.
The Government realised that it not only needed trained managers, but also skilled personnel at different levels of this industry that was getting increasingly important. The Kenya Utalii College is a full fledged hospitality and tourism training institute.
This college in Nairobi has plans to expand by starting satellite campuses in Mombasa.
An outstanding ‘menu’ of courses
It has earned the recognition as one of the world's 28 centres of excellence in hotel and tourism education by The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The college's list of courses is outstanding, which enabled it to earn the prestigious UNWTO Education and Science Council membership. Here is a comprehensive list of courses offered by this institute, hardly leaving out anything connected with hotel and tourism industry:
1. Eight full-time courses including hotel management, travel and tourism management, tour guiding and administration travel operations
2. Two degree courses that include bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management and in Travel and Tourism Management, offered in association with the University of Nairobi.
3. Then there are a host of certificate courses connected with tourism and hospitality industry. Some of these are: supervisory management in organisations, information technology specific to hotel management and travel agency techniques.
4. There are especially designed courses for those already employed in the industry enabling them to hone their skills. Every year it undertakes training of 1200 employees of hotel and tourism industry to further their professional skills.
Excellence through a hands-on approach
The college aspires to be among the world's foremost institutes for providing excellent training in hospitality and travel industry. In partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, it has initiated a program called "employability and entrepreneurship", intended to enhance business skills, thus helping the industry to grow and create more employment opportunities for its students. This arrangement allows the students to carry out a group consultancy project (GCP) to help increase the level of service and delivery in tourism.
To give its students hands on training, the institute has a subsidiary, appropriately named the Utalii Hotel. The students get an opportunity to put to practice all their learning at the college. With its 57 rooms, kitchen and a well equipped lab, it perfectly serves as a platform for students to get exposure to various aspects of hotel management and industry.
Over the years the college has trained 36,00 persons in different branches of hotel and tourism industry. Graduates from this college constitute 20 per cent of the workforce employed in hotel and tourism industry of Kenya. Many of its students are holding executive hotel and travel jobs away from Kenya; earning laurels for this leading institute and helping it retain its status as one of the best professional colleges worldwide.