For many years, education has always been a priority for us; we constantly evaluated different possibilities to be able to insert this principle in our culture as an organization with certification processes, among others.
In May 2020, while the pandemic was unfolding, the idea of creating an internship program with students from universities that can collaborate with SmArt emerged. We realized that, with the help of the right people, we could reach infinite limits.
Despite not having an accurate picture regarding the health crisis and its duration, we remained resilient and saw the situation as an opportunity to continue with our business model remotely for these collaborations. This is how the Virtualship Program was born, and the search for young talents that could accompany us in the development and reinvention of SmArt began, which led us to become one of the leading companies in innovation in all of Latin America.
The main purpose of Virtualships is to be able to transfer knowledge and change the vision of professionals in training, generating awareness and ability to delegate the responsibility that promotes tourism, through the care of communities, the environment, inclusion and other processes that have always been a vision that we have carried out.
It was in February 2021 that the first Virtualship was officially carried out, in collaboration with the prestigious San Ignacio de Loyola University (Lima, Peru) thanks to the support of Sandra Zubieta, Dean of the Faculty of Hotel Management, Tourism and Gastronomy, and Karen Guillen, Coordinator of the Tourism Administration career.
Today, we are going for the third edition of our Virtualships; there are more than 10 students who went through this rewarding experience, and even some are currently part of the SmArt family.
During the program, basic assignments are made that are divided into small missions, usually tasks within the Marketing area, the Research field, and involvement in the Formulation and preparation of required documents. Likewise, they have the opportunity to work on different valuable projects at a global level (such as the cases of #ReconfiguraDestino), in research for institutions (such as the Institute of Tourism Promotion of Argentina), some processes carried out with PromPerú, with regional governments of different parts, etc.; expanding their professional horizon, in addition to that from a very young age, they begin to relate and interact with different experts and personalities of international tourism that they also contribute to nourish this knowledge that is forming them in their life career.
The mission of leaving a legacy is a very big responsibility and we are fulfilling the goal. Many of the students who initially began a regular academic process, had a vision oriented to traditional jobs, but SmArt has managed to change this perspective and give the ease of exercising at work that was not originally the one they had visualized, but that represents a future within the new tourism that is being developed.
The vision is to continue with the model based on the transfer of knowledge, not only from SmArt to the students, but that we can also learn from their minds, ways of seeing the world and connect with the demands of the current tourism market. We faithfully believe that this modality is also helping us to change the needs of formation and training of communities and peoples, since, with their own knowledge and that young people acquire; it is viable to reach and offer it to more people.
Considering both aspects, we continuously plan and coordinate the addition of new academic centers around the globe that collaborate with SmArt and integrate their students in a training process with us. For example, we recently discussed the program with the Vice-Rector for Employability of the Complutense University of Madrid, María Concepción García; the advisor of the same unit, Frank Babinger; and other tourism expert, Ignacio Ruiz, who were very interested in his students being able to do virtual internships with SmArt.
It means an honor and pride to have such a consideration of a house of studies with all the tradition it has. Consequently, this would represent the source to achieve bridges of knowledge, given that our teams will be intercultural, and although our branches will always be oriented to tourism and hospitality, the company also requires knowledge in other areas, which will strengthen our structure much more.
The future of the Virtualship Program is aimed at continuing to expand educational allies, contributing much more responsibly to the future of the industry and, in addition, identifying valuable talent that we can recruit and add within the SmArt teams for their prosperous growth, not only of professional lives, but of engaging future sustainable professionals, ethical and socially responsible.