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Course helps reduce dependence on foreign spa therapists
Published on: Monday, March 30, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: The spa therapy course provided by the Federal Ministry of Tourism under a full scholarship scheme helps the Government to reduce Malaysia's dependence on foreign spa therapists.Adviser to the Sabah Therapist Association (STA), Datin Jeanette Tambakau said completion of the Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia III (SKM or Malaysia Skills Certificate) Course offers trainees guaranteed employment with immediate job placement in 3 to 5-star rated spas in the country, coupled with earnings between RM1200 and RM3000 a month.

"The Spa Therapy programme has created a positive impact through employment opportunities for the local community, and ensured that local therapists have a sense of pride in their legitimate profession.

"In this way, the Government is gradually phasing out foreign spa therapists," she said at the closing of the Training Workshop on "Elevating Youth in the Spa & Wellness Industry" with focus on the topic "Mindset Change for Peak Performance".

According to Tambakau, most of the members of Sabah Therapist Association (STA), which was established in 2012, were given the opportunity to take up the Federal-sponsored spa therapy course in Kuala Lumpur.

There are six intakes for training in a year under the Tourism and Culture Ministry's scholarship programme.

Tambakau, who is the co-founder of Jari Jari Spa Training Academy, said the next one is in April and then in June, August, October and December this year.

"Completion of the Spa Apprenticeship Programme will allow the student to work in 3-5 stars rated spas in Malaysia. This is a collaboration between the spa employer and the Ministry towards replacing all foreign therapists with local ones," she explained.

The two-day training workshop in Sabah was organised by STA and funded by the State Ministry of Resource Development & Information Technology. This first of ten series of training planned for members for the year aimed to develop a pool of spa therapists who embrace a high standard of professionalism. It was conducted by the Bayu Success Training Team at the Jari Jari Spa Training Academy, the only centre of excellence (COE) in East Malaysia recognised by the Federal Ministry of Tourism.

Participants were from CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru and Spa, Jari Jari Spa, Spa Village at YTL, Pulau Gaya and ex Sompoton Spa.

Among them were youths aged between 18 and 40, who joined the Spa and Wellness Industry in 2012 under the 1Azam Government Transformation Programme (GTP) which was supported through a grant by the State Ministry of Youth and Sports. "At that point in time, the Spa Therapy Programme was adopted as an economic empowerment tool to provide employment to Sabah's hardcore poor. Those from the low income group who went through the course were able to secure jobs in Malaysia," said Tambakau.

On the concept of Mindset Change for Peak Performance, Tambakau said it is about the process of creating a positive shift from self-limiting beliefs to a world of new and exciting possibilities in life.

"It charts out where participants are exactly in the game of life and career, and it maps out their goals and aspirations in crystal-clear declarations. However, what differentiates this as a great training platform is that it questions why they are and where they are in life.

"This programme is designed for participants to stop and have a look at how they are playing their game of life. It holds up a mirror to them to reflect on their underlying beliefs that drive their actions and cause their results. It is a powerful training strategy for participants devoted to achieving self-empowerment as individuals," she shared.

Meanwhile, President of STA, Doreen Maria Gorethy Estrop said the participants were thankful for the opportunity to undergo the soft skill training workshop.

"It has empowered us, economically speaking. We (STA members) are happy to contribute back to the community through charity work. We have visited Sri Pritchard Old Folks Home, the Palliative Care Centre of Palliative Care Association of Kota Kinabalu, and Nasam Sabah (National Stroke Association of Malaysia, Sabah).

"We are planning to visit another old folks home next month. This is one way for us to show our appreciation to the State government," said Estrop, who is currently working as a Spa Supervisor at Jari Jari Spa Suria Sabah Outlet.

Tracing the career development of a spa therapist, she said one can progress from Junior Spa Therapist to Senior Spa Therapist to Spa Supervisor to Assistant Spa Manager to Spa Manager and Spa Director.

"Perhaps one day, she will have her own spa business or become a trainer," she added.

STA's objectives are to enable members to network with all spa operators in the Spa & Wellness Industry and to change the public's negative perception towards the profession, among others.



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