Government has given $100,000 to the H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) for the free enrolment of 1,000 residents in the college’s Tourism Certification Training Programme.
Speaking at the recent launch of the programme, HLSCC’s Director of Culinary & Hospitality Studies, Keisha Davis-Barnes said all certifications in the programme will address safety measures and standard COVID-19 precautions for each area in the tourism sector.
“This training and development platform is provided to the people of the Virgin Islands through the colleges’ global academic partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute and the National Restaurant Association.”
“It is imperative that members of the community have an opportunity to sharpen their skills and become certified within their area of discipline,” she added.
Line level positions in first set of training
Davis-Barnes also said that only a specific set of professions will be available for enrolment within the first programme, and said that training will be available on all the main islands.
“Training offered within the first cohort is geared towards persons working in line-level positions only. Certifications will be provided for the following positions: restaurant servers, guest room attendants, front desk representatives and kitchen cooks,” she stated.
She added, “All training will be provided using two methods, online or face-to-face. We will be facilitating training on Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke beginning on October 20th, 2020.”
Part of marketing strategy
Junior Minister for Tourism Sharie DeCastro revealed that the certification is internationally recognised and is entitled the Skills Task and Result Training, which is also referred to as START.
She said: “The intention is to ensure we provide you with a highly recognised certification which is part of our marketing strategy, as we believe that travellers and guests will be more comfortable travelling to a destination they know is prepared to satisfy their needs and to do so safely.”
These types of standards are needed
Meanwhile, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education Dr Natalio Wheatley said that similar standards are needed across the tourism industry in order to grow the hospitality programme at the college.
He said the government’s aim is to elevate the college and the programme to the point where persons are clamouring to get into the BVI’s hospitality programme because they can be guaranteed a good job once they graduate.
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