Business & Economy

Royal Caribbean Cruises, STI to build school for seafarers

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Leading global cruise operator Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) is betting big on Philippine human resources by teaming up with STI Education Services Group Inc. (STI ESG) to build a world-class training center for seafarers in Manila.

The facility, named RCL-STI Cruise Talent Development Centre (CTDC), is envisioned to produce more Filipino seafaring talents ready to take on thousands of new hotel roles on cruise ships, STI said in a recent disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) recently for the creation of the RCL-STI CTDC that will follow RCL standards in providing training for hospitality jobs on cruise ships.

The MoU is seen as a strategic move that will benefit Filipino workers, who presently account for a fifth of the total global workforce on board the fleet of RCL’s many brands, which include Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises.

RCL’s six brands together operate more than 40 cruise ships offering diverse itineraries around the world and call on around 490 destinations on all seven continents. The US-based global company remains to be a top choice for cruise talent, including those who have the potential to rise to leadership roles in the hospitality industry.

“More than 17,000 Filipinos are employed on our ships,” said Paul Parker, RCL senior vice president and chief human resource officer. This makes the Philippines the top source of labor supply for Royal Caribbean.

“We are excited to create new ways of tapping into the Philippines’ deep pool of talent as we anticipate a massive increase in the number of cruise talent who will support our company’s expansion,” Parker added.

This agreement matches “STI’s approach of building new paths for our students and graduates to break into the professional world,” said Eusebio Tanco, executive committee chair of STI ESG.

Tanco said the collaboration would be “a boost to our programs that emphasize both academic excellence, and practical and industry-relevant skills training that we hope will produce more world-class hospitality and tourism professionals.”

He added that this was a perfect fit to the school’s commitment to real life education as well as its push to strengthen tourism and hospitality management programs.

For RCL’s part, Parker said the partnership “completes our approach to finding new talent in the Philippines and bringing them into our company.”

The leading cruise company began this approach with the opening of RCCL Crew Management Inc. (RCM Philippines), its own manning office in the country, in 2016.

“We are encouraged by the excellent work of our existing Filipino crew members,” Parker continued. “We know there is so much more benefit that we can gain from Filipino talent. It makes a lot of sense to look to the Philippines now that our company prepares to increase our global workforce.”

Tanco said: “Our country has a very strong maritime culture due in part to our geography that has blessed the Filipino with the innate talent to be an excellent seafarer.”

“A good number of Philippine maritime education and training institutes continue to mold this talent and enhance the natural skills of our seafarers. It is high time we complemented this with equally effective and high quality training for hospitality and tourism professionals who are ready to join global cruise companies,” he added. –

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