- On April 22, the centre launched a free online training programme for workers as part of strategies by the Ministry to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the sector.
- Areas of training include: laundry attendant, gift room attendant, kitchen steward/porter, public area sanitation, hospitality team leader, certified banquet server, certified restaurant server, Servsafe training in food safety, certified hospitality supervisor, introduction to Spanish, and disc jock (DJ) certification.
The Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI), under the Ministry of Tourism, is providing an opportunity for workers within the sector to upgrade their skills and develop professionally.
The centre, which is a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), was launched in 2017, to facilitate the certification and licensure of employees, as well as support innovation within the sector.
Recent graduates and students studying hospitality, tourism, or culinary arts are also eligible for certification through the JCTI.
Up to December 2019, the JCTI had facilitated the training and certification of more than 1,340 persons.
On April 22, the centre launched a free online training programme for workers as part of strategies by the Ministry to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the sector.
It is targeted at persons, who were recently laid off due to the downturn in tourism, helping them to hone their skills and improve their qualifications so that they will be better able to take advantage of opportunities when the industry rallies.
Areas of training include: laundry attendant, gift room attendant, kitchen steward/porter, public area sanitation, hospitality team leader, certified banquet server, certified restaurant server, Servsafe training in food safety, certified hospitality supervisor, introduction to Spanish, and disc jock (DJ) certification.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in his remarks at the virtual launch of the programme, said there is no better time than now for stakeholders in the sector to retool and upscale.
“It is a smart investment to stay resilient, which will pay handsome dividends when the tourism sector returns to normal,” he noted.
“While these are trying times we must remember there is life after COVID-19 and the tourism sector will rebound… I want our tourism workers to be better prepared. When we leave this period of the pandemic, it must not leave you as you were before but, indeed, much better off,” he said.
In an interview with JIS News, Director, JCTI, Carol Rose Brown, explained that the centre emerged out of an initiative by the Ministry of Tourism to boost training and certification in order to provide highly- qualified staff to serve the rapidly growing industry.
“It was clear to us that tourism was the major activity of the country and that we needed to begin to think about how we were going to prepare people to take on the senior management and middle management directorship in tourism,” she said.
“It would mean that we would have to find a way to provide the kind of professional certification that had international recognition for the people in our business,” she added.
The JCTI works closely with a number of local and international partners to ensure that Jamaicans receive internationally-benchmarked certification.
These include the Human Employment Resource Training/National Service Training Agency Trust (HEART/NSTA Trust), American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), American Culinary Federation (ACF), JWN Academy, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
Through collaboration with the Education Ministry, the JTI launched a certification programme for high school students to gain entry-level qualifications in tourism.
Mrs. Rose Brown explained that under the initiative, a student, within two years, can have certification from the AHLEI in hospitality and tourism management as well as an associate degree in customer service from a local institution.
“This means that the students, who two years ago, may have had no credentials, now has two impressive credentials, which won’t only provide him/her with academic entry cards, but also good practical skill sets,” Ms. Rose Brown points out.
Another important component of the work being done by the JCTI to facilitate professional development is the TEF Summer Internship Programme.
The initiative is geared at introducing participants to the world of work, enabling them to gain some professional experience.
Selected candidates are given the opportunity to work for five weeks at entities within both the public and private sectors.