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Marriott International has reinforced its commitment to developing local talent in Saudi Arabia by launching its fourth iteration of the Tahseen leadership programme. The 12-month programme, designed in partnership with Cornell University, aims to develop the next generation of hospitality leaders. This year’s programme in Saudi Arabia, which also includes Bahraini nationals, will feature more than 37 new participants. 

Francisca Martinez, Chief Human Resources Officer, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, said, “Our commitment to investing in young local talent to ensure the success of the Kingdom’s travel and tourism sector is unwavering. We are excited to launch the fourth edition of Tahseen in Saudi Arabia and look forward to developing the next group of hospitality leaders in the Kingdom. We are also delighted to see the continuous career advancement of those leaders who previously graduated from the program in the Kingdom despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic.”

In partnership with Cornell University, the fourth year of Tahseen in the Kingdom will see 37 participants go through a unique and highly individualized 12-month programme focused on practical application across all departments as well as an in-depth understanding of leadership skills led by teams across Marriott’s participating hotels. Tahseen provides candidates with operational experience and theoretical training, empowering them with the knowledge, skills and expertise to accelerate in leadership roles within the industry.  

Tahseen recently celebrated the graduation of its 2021 class, which saw 46 graduates, of which nearly half were women, step into leadership within their respective hotels and in the department of their choice.

Since its inception in 2018, more than 110 candidates have graduated from the Tahseen programme in Saudi Arabia and moved into roles within Marriott International’s properties in the Kingdom. To date, more than 75 per cent of the graduates remain employed at a Marriott International hotel and have progressed in their careers across the Kingdom in managerial, supervisor and director roles across functions such as Sales, Human Resources, Food & Beverage, Marketing, Finance and Operations.

The Tahseen programme supports Saudi Arabia’s National Tourism Strategy, which aims to create a thriving industry that will provide new employment prospects to a generation of Saudis. The strategy works alongside the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reforms, which aim to create one million jobs in the tourism sector, attract 100 million visitors annually, and shape the tourism sector to contribute to 10 percent of the country’s GDP by 2030. 

Tahseen’s recent graduates and new candidates shared their thoughts on the programme and its impact on their careers.

Abdulrahman Al Hadi joined Marriott International as a Telephone Operator. Since graduating from the Tahseen programme in 2018, he has moved on to become the Director of Sales at Four Points by Sheraton Jeddah. Looking back at his journey, Al Hadi said, “Taking part in the Tahseen programme allowed my career to grow exponentially. I was able to work my way up from Telephone Operator at the Le Meriden Al Hada to working on important commercial accounts, thanks to the business and communication skills I acquired during the programme. In addition, rotating between departments was the best experience, as it helped me understand how my decisions can impact various departments.”

Najd Alruwaili, Executive Assistant at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, who will be a candidate in this year’s programme said, “I am thrilled to be a part of such an incredible programme that will offer me the tools and resources I need to succeed in hospitality. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues in the different departments and learning how each department contributes to the hotel’s overall success.”

Tahseen is a programme that falls under Marriott International’s Sustainability and Social Impact Platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, which guides how the company makes a positive and sustainable impact wherever it does business. From empowerment opportunities to sustainable hotel development, the platform is designed to foster business growth while balancing the needs of associates, customers, owners, the environment and communities. One of the priority areas, or “coordinates”, of Serve 360 is Empower Through Opportunity. Tahseen is a programme that directly supports and brings this vision to life.

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