The former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan is to have a hospitality training college, thanks to an initiative from a Scottish college lecturer.
Ian Buick, a senior lecturer in hospitality at Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, came up withthe idea for the centre during a visit to the Western University in Baku, Azerbaijan, two-and-a-half years ago.
"Azerbaijan has a lot to offer tourists both culturally and historically. Given there is already a Hyatt there and a Hilton being built at the moment, I think more hotels will start to see the opportunities that exist," Buick said.
To turn his dream for the training centre into a reality, Buick submitted a successful bid to the European Union for a grant of £400,000.
He also formed a partnership with lecturers at the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Hague Hotel School, in Holland, and is currently working with them to train the Azeri staff.
The grant is being used for the training and to devise a curriculum.
The kitchen equipment will be shipped by container from Edinburgh in the next couple of months and 16 students will enrol on the Bachelorof Arts degree course in October.
At the end of the course the students will be qualified to manage restaurants and hotels.