Nearly 50 students have graduated from the Tui Academy equipped with the skills to boost tourism in the Dominican Republic.
The academy was set up by Tui’s Care Foundation and Plan International, in partnership with its Blue Diamond Resorts.
It aims to empower and create economic opportunities for young people in the republic, especially those hailing from poorer communities or troubled backgrounds, and guide them into the world of work.
In total, 46 students graduated, and will now move into six months’ formal employment at one of Tui’s resorts.
Elise Allart, Tui Care Foundation executive director of programmes and operations, said: “We started this project because we noticed there is high youth unemployment, especially among young women [in the Dominican Republic].
“A lot of these women are already mothers, some already have several children even though they are only 18 or 19 years old. We started this project to give them a chance for a better future by training them in jobs that fit the tourist industry.”
Tui said despite the republic’s tourism boom, with six million tourists visiting the island every year, the gap between rich and poor was growing.
Its academy brings together education and employment opportunities in the tourism sector.
Students can study in housekeeping, bartending or kitchen roles, and also receive life coaching, gain practical work experience and a grasp of English.
Silvio Minier, programme manager, added: "The Tui Academy aims to empower young people, especially women, from the poorest communities in La Altagracia province by offering them access to job opportunities and motivating them to make informed decisions about their lives.”