When Santosh Singh (name changed) retired as a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), it seemed to be the end of his working life. Two months down the line, he is happily managing catering services at a five-star hotel in Delhi.
Singh is one of the 150 JCOs trained by the Delhi Institute of Hotel Management (DIHM). The 12-week programme is a part of the resettlement scheme of the Ministry of Defence, which intends to provide vocational knowledge of hospitality operations to retired army officers. The aim is to provide the retirees employment in the hospitality industry or support them to emerge as successful entrepreneurs.
“The experience is extremely interesting. I now have a job after retiring from the defence services. More than financial stability, it is about individuality. I am enjoying this second innings in my life,” Singh said.
DIHM Director Dr Ravi Prakash said: “The JCOs are nominated by the Department of Resettlement, most of whom are approaching their superannuation. The idea is to help them be independent even after retirement. Many of them are now settled with the Railways and helping in the catering service.”
The programme has been designed in a manner that the candidates do not only get theoretical inputs but also hands-on experience of various trades, including kitchen, bakery, and food and beverages (F&B).
“The exposure is not limited to the institute only. The candidates are also sent to leading hotel chains to experience the challenges and get familiar with the industry’s demands and environment,” Dr Prakash added.
Special classes related to entrepreneurship, travel management in India, stress management, finance management, banks and loans, and so on are also being arranged to promote and support the upcoming entrepreneurs among the retirees.
For those wishing to join service, the institute has tied up with various hotels, restaurants, and catering establishments. In addition, the institute is planning to give cooking classes to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. As per the plan, 240 CRPF personnel will be trained in the first batch.
“We had received a letter from the CRPF officials, in which they communicated about giving training to 240 personnel. We have prepared a full plan about the programme and its content. We are now waiting for their final reply. Then we will go ahead with the plan,” Dr Prakash said.