Continuing Education Main Headline

MORS Gold Pin Competition recognises frontline tourism and hospitality workers while enhancing local service standards

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese
The 2023 edition of the “Macao Occupational Skills Recognition System” (MORS) Gold Pin Competition attracted 345 participants, vying for honours across 10 categories. The contest promotes skill development and skill recognition in the tourism and hospitality industry

In celebration of expertise and high-level skills within Macao’s hospitality and tourism industry, a total of 20 frontline practitioners from local enterprises won accolades in the “Macao Occupational Skills Recognition System” (MORS) 2023 Gold Pin Competition. The awards ceremony took place at Grand Lisboa Palace Resort Macau on December 6.

This year marked the 20th edition of the annual MORS challenge. The 2023 contest attracted the participation of 345 employees drawn from a total of 38 local hotel industry companies. They were vying for the coveted prizes – Gold Pins – in 10 occupation categories, including Western Chef, Bartender, Chinese Chef – Cantonese Cuisine, Chinese Chef – Dim Sum, Concierge and Bell Attendant, Front Desk Agent/Customer Relations Officer, Security Officer for Tourism and Gaming Industry, Room Attendant, Waiter/Waitress (Chinese Restaurant), and Waiter/Waitress (Western Restaurant). Two winners were chosen for each category, following 3 rounds of competition.

The MORS initiative, which has been established by IFTM for more than 20 years, is focused on enhancing the service standards within the local hospitality and tourism industry. This is achieved through the implementation of a comprehensive training programme that offers certifications for specific frontline positions. The MORS system was established in 2001 with the backing of the European Union; subsequently, the MORS Gold Pin Competition was introduced in the following year.

During the 2023 MORS Gold Pin Competition award ceremony, Dr. Fanny Vong Chuk Kwan, President of IFTM, emphasised that the contest encourages industry players to “strive for quality” and promotes “diverse development of the leisure and tourism industry in Macao.”

Ms. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), also spoke at the ceremony, describing high-quality service as paramount for any tourism destination. The MORS scheme and the Gold Pin Competition could “motivate the industry to enhance service quality and improve the competitiveness of Macao,” she added.

Mr. Kenneth Lai, Director of Food & Beverage at Grand Lisboa Palace Resort Macau, served as one of the 40-plus jury members for this year’s contest. Highlighting his employer’s longstanding support for the MORS scheme and the competition, the senior executive stresses that the initiative provides opportunities for industry practitioners to enhance their expertise and skills beyond their daily routines.

It can also help strengthen the relationship between management and frontline staff within an enterprise, Mr. Lai adds. “Through the training and participation in the competition, we can uncover the challenges faced by our frontline colleagues in their day-to-day operations and help resolve the problems,” he explains.

Other industry stakeholders share a similar view. Mr. Terence Lau, Assistant Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations and Culinary at integrated resort operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, commends MORS for providing “good opportunities” for frontline workers to practise and refine their skills.

Despite only a limited number of employees being able to join the annual competition, the participants can have an impact on their colleagues in the workplace, Mr. Lau says. “After the contest, they will share with their colleagues what they have learned, thereby improving the service quality of the team as a whole.”

Beyond Macao

Over the past 20 years, MORS – which now covers 16 occupational categories – has trained a total of 21,772 practitioners from the tourism and hospitality industry in Macao and other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Out of these, 16,479 individuals have obtained certifications under MORS.

The School of Continuing Education (SCE) at IFTM is the body overseeing the MORS scheme. According to the School’s Director, Dr. Cindia Lam Ching Chi, successful trainees in certain occupation categories covered by MORS can receive certificates issued not only by IFTM but also by The Working Committee of One Examination Multiple Certification(s), Occupational Skills Assessment of Guangdong Province, and the Labour Affairs Bureau of Macao (DSAL). 

Furthermore, MORS holders in the four occupation categories of Front Desk Agent, Room Attendant, Waiter/Waitress (Western Restaurant Service), and Western Chef are entitled also to receive certificates issued by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). 

“In addition to enhancing the vocational skills of the participants, IFTM is also committed to providing more opportunities for them by expanding the reach of this ‘Macao brand’ [MORS] beyond the city,” Dr. Lam explains.

Addressing the significance of the MORS Gold Pin Competition, she adds: “We organise this contest initiative for industry practitioners to challenge and learn from each other, thereby enhancing their skills and confidence.”

New career opportunities

The final round of the 2023 MORS Gold Pin Competition took place on 22 and 25 November. The winners in each category were awarded a cash prize of MOP8,000 and a scholarship worth MOP2,000 for training courses at IFTM’s School of Continuing Education.

Ms. Addiebelle Adaptante Arroco from integrated resort MGM Macau won a 2023 Gold Pin in the Bartender category. Despite having no prior practical experience in bar work, she participated in the competition last year to acquire a new set of skills, especially during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of her award, “I feel overwhelmed and happy,” she remarks, after joining the contest for the second time this year. “This award may provide me with new career opportunities in the non-gaming area.”

Wu Xiaoyin, a staff member at Palace Garden, a Chinese cuisine restaurant at Grand Lisboa Palace, emerged as one of the winners in the waiter/waitress category in Chinese Restaurant Service. “The Gold Pin Competition serves as a platform for recognising the expertise and skills of industry professionals, achieving such a good result in the competition is a shared aspiration for all industry professionals,” she says, anticipating further career opportunities after her success in the contest.

Receiving a Gold Pin in the category of Concierge and Bell Attendant also serves as a token of encouragement for Louis Gu Cong from The Venetian Macao integrated resort. With 15 years of experience in the sector, he states: “After winning this competition, I feel more confident at work, particularly in maintaining effective communication with guests.”

To prepare for the contest, he studied various aspects of Macao, including its history, culture, and architecture, to the extent even of its streets and alleys. “I have definitely gained a deeper understanding of Macao and developed a stronger affection for the city,” he says.