Twenty six young persons from across the Caribbean have been employed as trainee managers in Sandals Resorts International’s (SRI) two- year Management Trainee Programme (MTP).
The trainee managers, who hail from Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua and the Bahamas, are currently undergoing a two-week orientation with senior SRI directors, to sensitise them to the company’s goals, objectives, service standards as well as introduce them to the various departments.
In welcoming the candidates to the team, Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International emphasised the value of investing in human capital.
“We recognise that it has been the people that have separated us from our competitors. It’s more than just our infrastructure. We have been able to epitomise the spirit of our Caribbean people and this company is keen and interested in developing talent,” he said.
Alluding to the company’s vision for the next 30 years, Stewart alerted the trainee managers that they too will now play a role in making the vision a reality.
He said, “We want to take this company to even higher heights. Recognising that no one person has this organisation figured out, we intend to teach you what we have learnt, and together make strides beyond our achievements to date. The single best thing we thought to do was identify awesome talent and through shared passion and knowledge, we aim to take this company and the hospitality industry forward.”
Director of Business Processes and Administration, Wayne Cummings – himself a product of the MTP - charged the candidates to grasp the opportunity with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Noting that there are many management trainee success stories within the company, he stated, “I was young, green, full of energy and brimming with excitement to join Sandals Resorts. I was given the opportunity to learn from the most amazing people across all levels of the company; to learn the culture of hospitality.”
He warned the trainees to expect challenges but urged them to be steadfast despite the obstacles.
Eladio Vassell, a Jamaican trainee manager, is excited to be a part of the programme and has great expectations.
“I am quite honoured and humbled to be handpicked as one of the future leaders who will be equipped with the knowledge to drive and continue the strategic growth of such a dynamic and innovative company. I expect to be well trained in all the various departments, to understand and implement the policies that drive success and customer retention while developing personally and professionally,” he said.
With over 700 applications for the programme, 450 applicants were interviewed and 70 shortlisted. Shortlisted candidates were, among other criteria, assessed on their adaptability, future ambitions, interest in and interest in the tourism sector.
The programme, which was introduced in the 1980’s and placed on hiatus in 2009, was re-launched in 2011 as an addition to the resort chain’s ongoing thrust to invest in capacity-building throughout its operations.
The Sandals MTP two-year training and development programme is the centerpiece of SRI’s Management Succession Planning Strategy. It is in keeping with the organisation’s history of investing in the development of young people, many of whom are now trailblazers in regional and global tourism .