The National Key Economic Area (NKEA) of Tourism under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has set the targets of 36 million international tourist arrivals and RM168 billion tourism receipts by 2020. Towards this end, 12 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) were identified for implementation. In this regard, Spa and Wellness is one of the EPPs with the potential to contribute RM400 million in Gross National Income and create 3,500 new jobs.
The strategic partnership with Beaubelle Asthetics Academy is an initiative under Spa and Wellness EPP to train local spa therapists. This initiative is based on industry consultations during the NKEA Tourism Lab to meet the demand for well-trained local spa therapists. It is also aimed at reducing the heavy dependence on foreign spa therapists.
Beaubelle Asthetics Academy is a certified Centre of Excellence (COE) for spa training and has fulfilled the following requirements:
- register with the Skill Development Department (JPK) to conduct the National Occupational Skills Standard (NOSS) Level 3 for Spa Therapist using the National Dual Training System;
- minimum requirement to conduct 2 sessions of Masseur Level 2 or Junior Spa Therapist and Senior Spa Therapist and must at least have trained 50 spa therapists in the past;
- report to MOTAC on a regular basis the information related to training schedules, progress of students, curriculum updates and placement of students at spa establishments upon graduation; and
- have pre-arrangements with potential employers on student’s placement.
Under this training initiative, a scholarship program is offered to Malaysians who are interested to pursue a career in the spa industry. The scholarship is contributed by the government (RM7,000 per student) and the spa establishments (RM2,500). The training programme follow the NOSS Level 3 for Spa Therapist, which was developed by the Skills Development Department (JPK) using the National Dual Training System (30% theoretical and 70% practical studies). Upon graduation, the therapists will be employed by 3 to 5-star rated spas all over the country.
The funds disbursed to Beaubelle Aesthetics Academy are in the form of scholarships for spa training, which is a 6-month programme. Trainees from families with household income of less than RM3000 per month are awarded full scholarship for the course.
Beaubelle Aesthetics Academy has completed training for 43 spa therapists in 2013. Currently, 43 trainees are undergoing training at the centre. To date, total scholarships disbursed to Beaubelle Aesthetics Academy to train spa therapists amounted to RM 347,600 (RM146,700 in 2013 and RM200,900 as at May 2014). Hence, the statement, “The Tourism Ministry paid RM700,000 to Beaubelle Aesthetics Academy Sdn Bhd…” is misleading.
In the final analysis, the RM347,600 to provide scholarships to well-deserving students is an investment in human capital generating positive returns with benefits outweighing the costs. Among others, it provides meaningful employment, generates income and uplifts the standard of living of the low-income group, fulfil the urgent demand for spa therapists and contribute to the achievments of NKEA Tourism targets.
Ong Hong Peng
Ministry of Tourism and Culture
17 June 2014