Gov't plans hospitality programme for high-school students
Six hundred and fifty high-school students across the island are to benefit from the $100-million Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme (HTMP) this year, which will see them gaining internationally recognised certification in the industry.
To be rolled out in 30 high schools in mid-September, the intense two-year programme will be offered to students in grades 11, 12 and 13, free of cost.
It will provide participants with broad-based learning on the tasks and knowledge and skills required to build a career within the hospitality and tourism industry.
A joint initiative between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and the Ministry of Tourism, the programme is being facilitated under a memorandum of understanding signed by portfolio minister in the education ministry, Ruel Reid, and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett during a ceremony at Jamaica House on Wednesday.
Reid said he endorsed the initiative, noting that it is timely and consistent with the ministry's overall plans for the education and training sector.
He said it is specifically aligned with the ministry's 'K-13' strategy, which seeks to ensure that the education system reaches students from conception to age 18.
Reid further noted that the programme is also important in adequately preparing students for the nuances of the industry.
FULLY TRAINED, HIGHLY EFFICIENT WORKFORCE
Bartlett said the programme will result in a fully trained, highly efficient workforce that can provide the best experience for visitors.
"There is nothing that makes a destination more appealing than [high levels of service]. We seek to build the capacity of our human resources because tourism is all about people and building people for creative exposure," he said.
The HTMP is offered by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) as part of its suite of programmes aimed at high-school students. It was developed by industry experts and members of the American Hotel and Lodging Association as the official industry-recognised curriculum to prepare students for roles in hotels and the hotel industry at large and beyond.
The 30 teachers who will be delivering the programme content for the courses will be specially trained to do so. They will participate in the AHLEI's Certified Hospitality Instructor (CHI) training programme in August. This will also involve participation of teachers from 15 colleges.
Graduates of this programme will gain an associate's degree in customer service, AHLEI Certification, National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) Level 4 certification, and Customer Service Industry Association recognition.
The programme will also include internships, facility tours, and the completion of academic and practical tasks in class and online.