Kevin Levee hails tourism certification programme
The management of the Hedonism II Resort in Negril, Westmoreland, has embraced the Government's decision to revolutionise the hospitality sector in its drive to have all employees gain globally recognised industry certification. The echoes of commendation for the Ministry of Tourism have been ringing out in the resort towns across the island, including Negril.
Rose Richards is the human resources and training manager at Hedonism II. She, along with General Manager Kevin Levee, has welcomed the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) pilot certification project, which recently concluded.
Through a joint venture with locally based industry bodies and their internationally recognised certifying organisations, the JCTI programme's mandate seeks to provide opportunities for certification through globally recognised industry leaders.
"This initiative is long overdue for the industry and it is really welcomed. At some point, it had to happen because it is so necessary," remarked Richards as she highlighted the strategies being undertaken by the tourism ministry.
Richards explained: "For too long, we have had employees who really needed some kind of external certification befitting our environment and which would enable them to deliver the type of customer service that is needed. It is a fact that the industry employs many persons who are neither qualified nor certified. Now that certification is attainable, it is absolutely wonderful."
3-20 years experience
Levee noted that those who were selected for the training had between three and 20 years work experience, but were without any external training or certification.
Having witnessed the level of enthusiasm among his staff who participated in the training, Levee said his impression is that it has had a very positive impact on the participants.
"I believe that Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has placed a lot of emphasis on the well-being of the team members in the industry. All of us in the hotel industry understand that without good, committed, trained team members, we have no hospitality industry. Therefore, I am just very happy that this certification programme is now available in the sector," Levee stated.
Levee said the certification of an entire workforce, both for his hotel and the sector in general, will harness that sense of pride and accomplishment among individuals.
"I see a marked difference in our team members who participated in the programme; they work better together, and it has proved to be of significant benefit to the resort and the industry on a whole," Levee noted.
Levee said that the certification of more of his staff in future JCTI programmes would be compulsory for all of his staff.