Ludhiana rural youth trained by top chef

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By Karan Kapoor

Ludhiana, Apr 2 : A hotelier and politician, Jassi Khangura runs an institution for providing vocational training to the youth of his constituency and also to gain job opportunities in the hospitality sector.

26-year-old Jagdev Singh dwells in village Pakhowal near Ludhiana. Hailing from a farmers' family, he is proud of his culinary skills. But, the skill transformation came only when he joined a course in hospitality management.

A college pass-out, Jagdev only began his new line of work through the efforts of Jassi.agdev's family is also happy, as they are able to taste rare food they had never tasted before.

"Earlier, villagers were of the general opinion that culinary arts were a woman's domain. But, cooking is an art and chefs command huge emoluments. Jagdev has learnt to make delicious food," said Narotam Singh Grewal, Jagdev's uncle.

"Ever since he joined the course, he has been assisting his mother in cooking. He cooks a variety of dishes and we feel great," said Ajmer Singh, Jagdev's father.

At this luxurious hotel in Ludhiana, owned by the Khangura family of village Kila Raipur, 120 rural youths are being trained every year to hone a professional career in globally employable skills.

The one-year Certificate Course in Hospitality Management goes hand-in-hand with basic communication skills and hospitality orientation.

"I think this is an ideal course for India. The hotel industry is expanding at a phenomenal rate. If we don't have trained manpower, then there will be a tremendous resource constraints faced by the hotel industry. It is an opportunity to gain confidence, develop skills and several trainers are interested in taking up this course. For some of them, it will open up opportunities abroad because these are the skills required in the first world where there is always a shortage of good chefs," said Jassi.

After a three-month skill development programme in Ludhiana, students are sent to the country's prestigious FHRAI Institute of Hospitality Management. Khangura has subsidized 75 per cent of FHRAI fees for students from the reserved category.

In the next phase, students spend six months as trainees at one of the 35 Sarovar chain hotels in the country.

It is truly a dream come true for village lads when they execute their jobs in India and overseas.

"We were not financially strong to execute this course in any of the metropolitan cities like Mumbai or Delhi. Our parents were unable to meet the expenses, but here we have gained admission by paying a minimum fee," said Avtar Singh, a student.

Ranbir Singh, another student added, "When we went to meet someone, our confidence levels were not up to the mark and we always hesitated to talk. It was not acceptable in the hotel industry. Here, we are able to ensure personality development and also gain the confidence to speak."

The first batch of 30 female students are ready to join the course that will help enhance employment prospects of rural women in Qila Raipur.

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