21 Youngsters Graduate from Start Programme


Twenty-one young people from Flankers in Montego Bay have been certified to work in the hotel industry, having successfully completed a 12-month training course through the Sandals/Flankers Training and Recruitment Tier (START) programme.
The 19 males and two females are part of a group of 25 youngsters who were selected from the Flankers community to the pioneers in an on-the-job training programme implemented by the Sandals Montego Bay hotel in collaboration with the HEART Trust/NTA. President of the Flankers citizens association, Marilyn Nash, had identified the need for such an initiative, to provide skills training for the over 2,000 youngsters living in the community, which is located in close proximity to Sandals Montego Bay.
Under the START programme, 20 participants were selected and placed at Sandals Montego Bay, while five were placed at Sandals Royal Caribbean, to undergo one year of intensive training in a chosen skill within the hotel sector.
Of the 25 chosen, four dropped out within a matter of months, with 21 completing the programme and graduating with a Sandals certificate bearing a HEART Trust seal, which signifies HEART’s approval and accreditation for the level of training.
At a graduation ceremony held yesterday (Nov. 25) at Sandals Montego Bay, Senior Director for Planning and Project Development at HEART/NTA, Tom McArdle, described the programme as a very important community outreach initiative, and one that other companies could emulate.
Such initiatives, he pointed out, could only serve to develop the country’s human resources.
“In Jamaica, going forward and making progress is not really going to depend on something like foreign aid, agriculture or even manufacturing; it is going to have to do with services. If we are going to move forward it is really on the basis of our human resources,” McArdle stated, noting that the on-the-job aspect of the training provided the best practical experience for the youngsters.
Meanwhile, he informed that over the next few years, HEART would be seeking to establish more collaborative training programmes with business establishments.
He noted further, that HEART would be providing some financial assistance “to guarantee the programme’s continued existence, and to help it move into its next phase.”
“We have a combined budget here of $2.5 million with a grant coming out of HEART Trust that is going to be in the range of about $800,000”, Mr. McArdle informed.
He congratulated the graduates on their hard work and charged them to be team players and to always strive to learn more and to reach for higher levels in their chosen fields.

JIS Social