Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Headley: Ministry's tourism training programme 'absolutely brilliant'

Published:Saturday | November 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
General manager of Sandy Haven Hotel in Negril, Robert Headley.

The ongoing Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI) training and certification spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism is being hailed as an "absolutely brilliant" initiative by general manager of Sandy Haven Hotel in Negril, Robert Headley.

The property recently hosted some 107 bartenders, who underwent the 36-hour J. Wray & Nephew training course leading to their internationally recognised certification. Headley, who is also vice-president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, thinks the programme will provide an advantage to the sector, giving it a more informed and technically sound workforce better able to compete regionally and globally.


Strong foundation


With regard to the timing of the training, the hotelier says that all the work done in the past to build the tourism industry to this level formed the foundation on which it is now continuing to build.

"We cannot discredit any of those efforts of the past; where we are now is based on the work of the people gone before, and we have built on all ideas, whether old or new," said Headley.

He noted that institutions such as the HEART Trust/National Training Agency has done a lot, so it is time to step things up by building on that knowledge into the realm of top-level certification through international partnerships.

Headley has high praises for the team of bartenders who were recently certified. "They completed 36 hours of refresher (and in some cases), first-time training and are now, both more educated and motivated. Those who had the knowledge and did not use it are now energised, and their confidence has been boosted," he said.

Of the longevity of the programme, Headley is confident that it will continue into the future and that any changes made will be to make it better.

"Tourism is the major contributor to Jamaica's economy. We and the people who are in it have to interact with other international players every day, so the training that is put in place to improve our quality offerings must be sustainable," he said.

Meanwhile, community training intervention specialist Fredreca Ramsay from the Lucy Skills Training Centre recently delivered the 36-hour J. Wray & Nephew training programme for bartenders in the hospitality industry.

She trained the bartenders and concludes that they have gained new insights into areas such as mixology and bar operations - subjects they were knowledgeable of but were not certified in. The end result of the training is that the graduates will now be enabled to perform at a higher standard anywhere in the world.

"The students were very entertaining and receptive during the course. Others were nervous, some challenging, but they all had to learn to do things the right way," said Ramsay when asked to speak to the attitude of the bartenders to the course.