As a global leader in hospitality procurement, HSM takes seriously our responsibility to ensure that human rights are upheld at every step in the supply chain. We also seek out opportunities to create a more level playing field through our commitment to supplier diversity and an equitable future. And with nine offices spanning every major region of the world, HSM procurement experts are positioned to make authentic connections with our suppliers through regular visits and working together to mitigate unethical sourcing. In addition, they work to ensure that employees are of age, treated well and given the proper tools and resources to be successful. One such expert—Ingy Helal, HSM’s regional procurement director for Egypt and North Africa—successfully launched a job training initiative in Egypt to address access inequities she observed in her region, ultimately transforming a one-month sabbatical into a multi-year program that has positively impacted more than 5,000 youth.
In 2018 Helal was selected as one of ten winners for Hilton’s Thrive Sabbatical program and spent her sabbatical month volunteering with Egypt’s Meshwary program, a collaboration between UNICEF and the Egyptian Ministry of Youth Sports (MoYS) designed to empower and prepare youth, particularly young women, to join the labor market. In an effort to promote gender equality and introduce interested candidates to the hospitality industry, Helal partnered with HSM and Meshwary to create a one-month internship program at Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort in Sharm El Sheikh. Fifteen young people from across Egypt traveled to Sharm El Sheikh for one month of on-site training and mentorship under Helal’s leadership, and a number of participants were offered employment following their initial internship experience.
Mostafa Mousa, who dreamed of becoming a pastry chef but lived in an area with no access to career training, spent 10 days of his internship learning to knead, bake and prepare different types of breads. Following the program, Mostafa was offered additional training and then a full-time job in the resort’s pastry and bakery department. Program participant Donia Zakareya, meanwhile, received training from the hotel in a traditionally male-dominated field, and she is now serving as the first female landscaping engineer in an Egyptian tourist resort.
“This was my dream opportunity,” said Zakareya. “Who would agree to transport, accommodate and train a girl in landscape engineering at an international hotel? But we all had equal chances … our capabilities, determination and interest were the only criteria.”
Following the resounding success of Helal’s initial cohort, HSM and Hilton invested further resources to expand the program to two additional hotels. Working with Meshwary, HSM helped secure a grant from the Hilton Effect Foundation, and Helal then leveraged HSM resources to implement a formal on-site training program at Hilton’s three partnering Egyptian properties. Since the program’s inception, nearly 50 young people have received hands-on job training with Hilton, and 70 percent of interns were offered full-time positions. Another 17 graduates went on to start their own businesses after completing the program. HSM’s involvement has also helped drive the success of the wider Meshwary project, which so far has delivered employability, entrepreneurship and life skills training to more than 5,200 youth — nearly two thirds of whom are female.
And while COVID-19 initially posed a threat to the program’s future with the suspension of on-site training, HSM partnered with UNICEF to digitize the training and bring resource guides online. Acceleration to a hybrid training model is helping to extend the program’s reach, and thanks to a recent agreement, more than 750 Egyptian youth will receive internships and on-site training at Hilton hotels over the next five years. By working with external partners through Meshwary and investing time and effort into youth training and work experience, HSM has ultimately been able to strengthen Hilton’s labor pipeline in Egypt while positively impacting the country’s youth and economic future.