Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett today (January 11, 2017) announced that Cabinet has approved the arrangements for the development of Jamaica’s first Hotel School as well as the establishment of Artisan Villages and a Craft Development Institute, to aid in the Ministry’s push to strengthen the island’s human capital.
Speaking at a post cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister Bartlett explained that the Hotel School would offer a more practical curriculum and will complement the current hospitality programmes at the country’s tertiary institutions. This is primarily because the institution will operate as both a functional hotel and world-class training institution.
The Hotel School is intended to support development in areas such as Culinary Management, Spa Management and Hospitality Management. “We want to see our people in more supervisory and management roles. We are bringing to the table a very practical curriculum, so that we can go to the hoteliers with confidence, and say that we have the right people with skills and professionalism for their hotels,” explained Minister Bartlett.
He further noted that “the institution will operate like a laboratory where students will get hands-on experience in a modern institution that also offers training to acquire internationally recognized academic credentials and certification. The school will also be accessible to every Jamaican student studying hospitality and tourism regardless of the tertiary institution that he or she is enrolled in.”
Minister Bartlett alongside, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator, Hon. Ruel Reid, kick-started the development process by today signing the agreement to create a Business Case for the Hotel School. The agreement concretizes the engagement of a team of international tourism experts who will conduct research and share knowledge and best practices to facilitate the successful establishment of the hotel school.
The team is led by Donald Hawkins, Professor Emeritus of Management and Tourism Studies, George Washington University, and will produce the business plan that will serve as the official guide for the initiative.
The Minister also outlined that Cabinet’s approval to establish Artisan Villages and a Craft Development Institute (CDI) will significantly boost the Ministry’s efforts to foster the development of the skills of craft entrepreneurs across the island and the effective marketing of their products. The overall strategy also entails the design of a system to produce and distribute Jamaican craft.
“This plan will see a strong partnership between the Tourism Ministry and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts among other partners, and the collaboration of both local and visiting craftsmen and women to create a truly comprehensive programme. The establishment of the Craft Development Institute and the Artisan Villages is vital if we are to better cater to our cruise visitors in particular,” said Minister Bartlett.
Five artisan villages are slated to be built across the island. They will be one-stop-shop facilities where visitors can see the creation and merchandising of craft items, while enjoying authentic Jamaican entertainment and leisure activities. It will also provide an avenue for Jamaican artists and craftsmen to expose and express their creativity by producing unique indigenous items, thus, limiting the volume of imported craft items that are being sold in the industry.
The Craft Development Institute is scheduled to welcome the first students in the September 2018 school year while the first Artisan Village at the Port of Falmouth is scheduled to open in December 2018.