Sun | Jan 21, 2018

YUTE Grooms 50 for Restaurant Week

Published:Thursday | November 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM
In preparation for The Gleaner-sponsored Restaurant Week, Paula Surtees of Devon House Café (left) conducted interviews with some of the participants.
Alicia Glasgow Gentles, executive director of Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE), stresses the importance of non-technical life skills, as YUTE and HEART Trust NTA groom 50 of their graduates in preparation for Restaurant Week 2016.
One of the participants in the this two-day training course of YUTE protégés and HEART Trust NTA graduates.

Youth Upliftment through Employment (YUTE) is more than doubling the number of young food-service graduates groomed for internship placements in The Gleaner-sponsored Restaurant Week November 11-19, 2016.

Fifty trained YUTE protÈgÈs and HEART Trust NTA graduates have been recruited into the annual Restaurant Week Job Readiness Programme facilitated by these two partner organisations. This compared to 20 prepared for last year, 18 of whom obtained placements with participating restaurants during the weeklong food festival.

Now in its sixth year of partnership with Restaurant Week, the Job Readiness Programme has been expanded from one to two full days of refresher courses in practical tasks, vital soft skills such as attitudes, deportment and workplace protocol, plus interview techniques.

YUTE's newest partner, C&C South Beach CafÈ, hosted this two-day training course at its Brompton Road, Kingston venue, on October 25 and 26.

Stephanie Scott, managing director of SSCO Events Management and conceptualiser of Restaurant Week in Jamaica, explained to the young recruits just how important their input would be, especially in light of the significant expansion of the event. She noted that Restaurant Week, launched in 2004 with 22 participating restaurants in Kingston, now boasts 80 restaurants in seven cities, with the 2016 addition of Mandeville, Alligator Pond, Treasure Beach and Bluefields, and a new category in which nine caterers will offer an Eat In option.

Scott highlighted that the popular event is patronised by some 40,000 persons per year and that the intensive work it demands offered an important opportunity to the YUTE and HEART protÈgÈs.

Offering some advice to the trainees during the workshop, she noted, "You are responsible for your own progress. When you go out there you need to shine, to distinguish yourself. This may be your passport to a new job, a new career!"

YUTE Executive Director Alicia Glasgow Gentles note that her team would be making every effort to place all 50 of the recruits in jobs with participating restaurants during Restaurant Week 2016. Glasgow Gentles stressed, "Only you can convert these placements into jobs!"

Key presentations during the two-day Job Readiness Programme included Providing Food and Beverage Service; Workplace Ethics and Values; Dress and Deportment, Interview Techniques; Emotional Intelligence and Healthy Workplace Relationships; Managing Diversity at the Workplace, and an extensive session of mock interviews by actual employers.