The Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme (HTMP) is in full swing at Anchovy High in St. James, with 24 students enrolled in the two-year programme, which will see them being internationally certified.
The beneficiaries are past students of the institution and other high schools across the parish including Herbert Morrison Technical and St. James High. They are undergoing a comprehensive programme involving internships, facility tours and academic and practical tasks in the classroom and online.
Upon completion of the HTMP training, the graduates will receive American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) certification; an associate degree in Customer Service; National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ) level 4 certification; and Customer Service Industry Association recognition.
The training, which is free of cost, was rolled out in some 33 high schools island-wide in September 2018, with Anchovy being the only institution in St. James offering the programme.
It forms part of the Ministry of Tourism’s Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) Training Initiative, which seeks to prepare students for gainful employment in the hospitality sector.
The programme at Anchovy High is being undertaken by two teachers from the institution, who received certification as hospitality instructors in August 2018 by a master trainer from AHLEI.
In preparation for the delivery of the curriculum, the teachers underwent a rigorous training exercise, covering five courses.
Vice Principal of Anchovy High, Lorraine Dennis Rowe, tells JIS News that the school was invited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in mid-2018 to participate in the pilot project for the HTMP.
She says that after consultation with the teaching staff, the school readily took up the challenge and the programme is now in full force with students already utilising their training in organising and executing school activities.
“We have our students, on a daily basis assisting in the area of (food) service. They help us when we have large (functions) and provide assistance in the tuck shop or the canteen. So, they are gaining practical experience as they are doing their training,” she notes.
HTMP content instructor, Olga Clarke James, has very high praises for the programme.
She says that the students have displayed a high level of enthusiasm towards the training, which she says, will not only prepare them for careers in hospitality but in other fields as well.
She believes graduates of the programme will be at an advantage, as they are immersed in content that will set them apart in the hospitality sector.
“It [HTMP] has been pretty good and the students are very enthusiastic about the programme. I think they have been learning a lot and many (other) students want to start the programme next year,” Mrs. James notes.
“I think the students are learning to be more responsible, I think they are looking at the hospitality industry in another light. They are able to see that there is space for them in the industry and that this HTMP degree that they will get, along with the other qualifications, can take them places,” she adds.
Mrs. James underscores the need for all hospitality workers to receive the requisite training, noting that this will add “tremendous value” to the guest experience.
“The guest experience is worth a lot of money as they will go back to their countries and tell of what it is that we do here. For us here in Jamaica, we have the accommodation, we have the attractions, but I think that a lot of the reasons why some of the guests come back here is because of the people.
“If (the workers) are formally trained then they will know exactly how to deliver the product so we can get repeat visitors,” she points out.
For her part, Fayonie Sawyers-McFarlane, who teaches Guest Cycle and Front Office Operations under the HTMP, tells JIS News that she is grateful that Anchovy High was chosen as a pilot school for the training programme.
She says the students have been performing at an “exceptional level” and have been applying the information learned in creative ways.
“This is a wonderful programme that they have introduced in our school system, because it allows the students to get first-hand knowledge of hospitality training. We are located in the hospitality mecca and with our students getting practical experience and exposure, it couldn’t have been better.
“They are able to learn how to approach the guests, how to deal with guests, how to resolve guest issues as it relates to the hospitality industry on a whole and it will do very well for them,” she adds.
Students enrolled in the HTMP have expressed confidence that the training will adequately prepare them for top tier jobs in the hospitality sector.
Eighteen year-old Sababarina Rose, who is a past student of Anchovy High, tells JIS News that she opted to enroll in the programme as it was in line with her career goal of becoming an executive chef.
“I know that this would be a very good p rogramme for me, and it adds to my other qualifications,” she says, noting that the training has improved her communication skills.
Past student of Herbert Morrison Technical High, Shavae Reid, also hails the programme as a great opportunity for students to gain technical training and certification at the college level.
“We have been gaining a lot of experience. I have learnt to improve my communication skills and interpersonal skills. I have learnt a lot in the course such as customer service, front desk operations and housekeeping operations,” she tells JIS News.