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Chat with the new director of STA |10 May 2021

Chat with the new director of STA

Terrence Max on his graduation with a Masters of Science in International Hospitality Management from the University of Huddersfield, UK

“The tourism industry has to be present and visible at STA from day one”


Terence Max is the new director of the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA). This was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde in a general meeting with the staff on Monday May 3. Seychelles NATION contacted Mr Max to know more about himself and the task ahead of him.


Seychelles NATION: Please tell us who Terence Max is.

Terence Max: Born in 1971, I now reside at Anse à la Mouche. I consider myself to be a hotelier and an educationalist by profession. For my GCE Cambridge Advanced Level Certificate, I studied English, History and Economics, then went on to get a certificate in Food Hygiene. In 1992 I studied for a Food and Beverage Operations Certificate with the Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne in Switzerland then moved to Singapore for a Higher National Diploma in Hospitality Management at SHATEC. With the University of Bolton, UK, I did a Bachelor Degree in Education management – majoring in Technical and Vocational Education and Training and in 2010 I completed the HACCP Management of Food Hygiene level 3 (management) Certificate with the National Hygiene partnership of Ireland. In 2012-2013, I did my Masters of Science in International Hospitality Management with the University of Huddersfield, UK.


Seychelles NATION: Tell our readers about your professional journey.

Terence Max: I started my career as a management trainee at Le Meridien Barbarons Resort in 1992, then move to Hotel Imperial in Singapore as a management trainee from July 1994 to January 1995. For 11 months I was employed at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino. In 1996 I moved to another venture and became the Operations Manager at La Parisienne Bakery.

In 2001, my career path took another avenue and I was a Food & Beverage and Front Office lecturer at the Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Training College (SHTTC). I was also the course leader for the Front Office department.

I was then employed by the University of Seychelles as lectures and course developer; by the Paradise Sun Hotel as Food & Beverage manager/executive assistant manager; by Oasis Hotel as consultant and finally by Anantara Maia Seychelles as People and Culture manager.


Seychelles NATION: Now being appointed as director of such an important institution, what are your plans?

Terence Max: As we continue to endure those difficult times in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is more than ever the need to be flexible, dynamic and innovative in the way we do things so that we can adapt to the constant changes and challenges.

Given the prevailing situation that companies are operating in, it is also imminent that hospitality businesses will have to be constantly changing and adapting to meet the new demands of their esteemed customers so that they can stay competitive. It is a fact that guests have become more exigent in their requests and the service delivery therefore has become more challenging. This implies that more than ever, the tourism and hospitality industry needs to have quality talents to be able to deliver and to stay abreast in a market that has depleted considerably.


Seychelles NATION: What is your vision for STA?

Terence Max: STA has as its prime mission to enroll, form and develop quality local talents for the tourism and hospitality industry. My vision, and that will be the measurement of our success, is to have a tourism and hospitality in the Seychelles that relies on STA to furnish them with the quality talents that will fit into their specific demands of their business concepts. We should be able to satisfy the industry demands and in turn they should be convinced that STA is a reliable source for their talent recruitments.


Seychelles NATION: There has been much talk about the quality of training for the young, what will be your focus?

Terence Max: My focus will be on the following areas:

  1. Firstly, to ensure that we adopt a selection and entry criteria that will ensure we have students who have the right attitude; students with the ultimate desire and passion to develop a career in the hospitality and tourism industry. We need to engage with the Ministry of Education, the SQA (Seychelles Qualifications Authority), parents and all relevant bodies to ensure that STA is recognised as the place that only grooms those youngsters who are aiming for success in the tourism and hospitality industry.

We need to see a considerable increase in the percentage of retention rate among our graduates within the industry.

  1. Secondly, and as mentioned earlier, we need to reinforce our partnership and collaboration with the industry. This is non-negotiable. The industry has to be present and visible at STA from day one. We should set up a mechanism that fosters a partnership of support and exchange, one that will encourage industry professionals, locals and expats alike, to share their knowledge, skills and experience with our students. They should be playing a key role in the students’ development. Likewise our trainers/lecturers should be more mobile and visible in the industry. There should be exchanges and dialogues betweendepartmental staff and their industry counterparts and they should develop a permanent working relationship for the benefit of the students. By doing this, we will be able to develop or re-structure our programmes that will suit their needs and in turn they will influence our success.

In this context, if need be, we will need to re-look at all our programmes to establish their relevance to the current hospitality needs. Like the industry, which is evolving quickly, we also need to align STA with the new developments and manpower requirements, so that we can design training programmes that are tailor-made to suit their needs. That’s where our dialogue with STA should come in to play. We should not be static.


Seychelles NATION: Are you looking into partnering with big hotel chains to accompany the graduates from STA?

Terence Max: Again looking at the retention rate, we should develop a mechanism in partnership with the industry, that will help us have close monitoring of the training of all interns, beyond their graduation and in full employment. I would like to mention here that at ministerial level, there should be a need to collaborate with the ministry of employment to ensure that there is a systematic and comprehensive follow up on the localisation programmes within the industry to ensure that local talents continue to be developed and be rewarded for their efforts and commitment as deemed appropriate.

I believe that these should be the key elements that need to be prioritized. Surely, we are realistic enough to understand that these will not happen overnight. It needs a lot of effort and commitment on the part of everyone involved. However, I am convinced that they are achievable. STA has to become ‘THE GATEWAY FOR SUCCESS” for every young aspiring Seychellois. And we need to gain the respect and confidence of the industry so that it will endorse that.

Compiled by Vidya Gappy


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