When opening the door of Armenia Wellness and Spa Hotel in Jermuk, you’ll immediately be greeted by the smiling face of Hrayr Mkrtchyan, the Jermuk native with the following expression: “Welcome to our hotel! Please, have a seat.” Afterwards, drinks will be walked over and served while Hrayr arranges your hotel room.
“I used to make mistakes when welcoming guests in English; for instance, I’d tell them “Sit down, please,” and would meet their awkward look, which told me that I’m doing something wrong. I was a fifteen-day front desk administrator at the hotel when I learned about the Armenia Workforce Development Activity program and thought that this was my chance to upgrade my skills. Frankly speaking, enrolling in program was one of my best decisions I have ever made,” says 27-year-old Hrayr who took a chance on the hospitality industry after he found himself jobless as a medical massage therapist.
Through the online and offline training being organized within the scope of the USAID-funded Armenia Workforce Development Activity on hospitality, customer service, and soft skills, Hrayr was exposed to a great learning environment where the lecturers were industry professionals and helped him pave a way to a better background in hospitality, hotel and customer services.
Launched in October 2021, Armenia Workforce Development Activity is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) and consortium partners, including the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) Foundation, Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) and Civitta Armenia. The Activity aims to equip 10,000 young people at the age of 15-29 in all provinces of Armenia with working skills, highly demanded in the labor market and ensure 7,000 have better employment opportunities in the fields of ICT/high-tech, agriculture and hospitality.
Hrayr describes the hospitality sector to be particularly competitive as almost every second person in Jermuk is connected with the field. “I learned new skills and knowledge related to hospitality. I also learned that to be a highly competitive and demanded specialist, I better improve my English and communications skills, as well as focus on guest satisfaction. Keeping high spirit is a key to guest satisfaction, so, I always put aside my personal failures or bad mood, and keep high spirit when on duty,” he says gently smiling.
Hrayr's passion for hospitality has also sparked an unexpected passion for working with the local youth as programs manager at the Jermuk Youth Center where he is particularly working with middle to high school children. “I have tried to share with them the knowledge and skills I acquired through the program, and I'm happy to have motivated them to become more engaged in different social and cultural initiatives in Jermuk. I also help them decide their future specialty based on their interests; we discuss topics related to CV writing, job interviews, as well as problems and challenges that the youth is currently facing in the provinces,” he says noting that the most challenging issue is the lack of information. That’s why he feels obliged to raise awareness of the Armenia Workforce Development Activity program, and highly recommends it to anyone from his community.