Only 6,000 out of the island’s 200,000 tourism sector workers have passed competency tests to attain the required certification.
Perry Markus, secretary of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI), told Bali Daily on the sidelines of the second competency examination here in Kuta over the weekend that more workers should take part in this important stage.
“The second stage of the examination only tests five of the 38 subjects required to get the standard-level certificate,” Markus said.
Markus explained that the competency test was being held with support from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.
“The ministry has provided us with funding and technical expertise to organize this test. It is expected that in the following tests, companies and the local government will able to give their support, both financially and with facilities,” he added.
He also predicted that only one percent of the 6,000 participants would take the advanced tests.
“There will only be a very few workers who have the standard certificates needed to compete with regional workers when the ASEAN free-labor agreement comes into effect in 2015,” he said.
The 10 member countries of ASEAN — Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei Darussalam — will initiate regional labor market liberalization in 2015 by allowing selected professions, including those in the tourism sector, to move between member countries to work.
Under the plan, a system of common professional standards will be applied for all ASEAN members. Thus, ASEAN citizens will be able to work in any member country, as long as they have already acquired the necessary certification to comply with regional working standards.
The government is currently facilitating, and even funding, certification programs for professio-nals included in the designated industries.
During 2012, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry will facilitate certification programs for 15,000 workers in the tourism industry.
“Lack of awareness on the importance of upgrading skills, as well as limited funding, has prevented local workers from participating in this important certification process,” explained Markus.
Other ASEAN member countries, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in particular, have been preparing their workers to acquire the needed certification.
He urged the managements of hotels and restaurants to allocate funding from their human resource development programs to allow their employees get the certificates.
“Workers have to be proactive in finding information regarding the tests. The ministry has frequently organized certification tests for free, but only a small number of workers turn up,” he added.
Dardja S. Daroes, secretary general of the Profession Certification Agency, added that hotel and restaurant managements were reluctant to send their workers to take part in the tests, as they were afraid of losing their skilled workers once they obtained the certificates.
“Many of them [the managements] do not allow their workers to leave their workplace for three days. Certification tests are usually held for at least three days,” Daroes said.
The ministry has targeted providing competency tests for 50,000 workers across Indonesia by 2014. Until June 2012, only 14,500 workers had obtained the certificates.
Putu Budiasa, head of Denpasar tourism office, said that he encouraged the managements of hotels and restaurants to allocate two percent of service funds to help support in the upgrading of their workers’ skills.
Source: Bali Daily