The Ministry of Tourism, through the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), has partnered with the University of Technology (UTech) to establish a Hospitality School in Montego Bay, St. James.
The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Friday (May 15) at the Ministry’s New Kingston office to start the initiative.
The Hospitality School, which will offer degree and certificate programmes, is intended to: improve the level of training and certification of the Jamaican work force; provide supervisory / middle management training for staff in the tourism sector; and provide students with academic training and hands-on experience.
Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett, (right) in discussion with President of the University of Technology (UTech) Prof. the Hon. Errol Morrison (centre) and Director General in the Tourism Ministry, Carrole Guntley, at the Ministry, New Kingston, Friday(May 15) during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Hospitality School in Montego Bay, St. James.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that the establishment of the school was critical to the development, and advancement of workers in the tourism industry, particularly those at the supervisory/middle management level.
He noted that while the University of the West Indies (UWI), UTech and the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) have had departments or faculties dealing with hospitality sciences, the industry has never really had a “hands-on training institution” preparing middle managers to assume top management positions.
Mr. Bartlett said the school will train workers who are already on the job at supervisory levels, and who now need the formal accreditation to take them to the next level of management.
The Hospitality School, will be a fully commercial operation, and will mirror the model established by the Hospitality School of the University of the Balearic Islands, which operates a five star hotel offering training, as well.
“To be able to have a middle management school, which also manages a small hotel. it’s not a question now of just the academics, it’s not just about the theoretical exposure, it’s about a practical hands-on application (along with) the pedagogical training that you get, and it gives you that competence to move into the world of work with minimum learning curve,” the Minister said.
As part of the MoU, UTech will operate and manage the school, while TPDCo will be responsible for acquiring the facility to house the school and to prepare it for operation.
He said that the Ministry was advanced in the process of acquiring the facility and getting it ready for actual occupation for training. When completed, the Hospitality School will accommodate professional staff, administrators, as well as students from around the region.
Mr. Bartlett also stated that the school will be operational in time for the next winter season.
“We are expecting that the logistics and everything will be completed by September to October, so that we can have the first set of students coming in by October, thereabouts, in time for the winter season,” he said.
President of UTech Professor the Hon. Errol Morrison noted that at UTech, hospitality and tourism are seen as the wave of the future.
“We want to be a part of it, and we are therefore committed to working within this structure to implement the best academy that they will ever see in this region,” he said.