Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says, the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) has made a promising start with 12 hotels and over 150 individuals participating in its pilot of two important certification programs.
In a review of the pilot last Friday, it was revealed that the population of persons to be certified was quite impressive. 91 candidates completed the examinations last week for the designation Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS) through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and are now awaiting their results. This group included recent college graduates and individuals who are working in local hotels.
“I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made with this very important initiative. My Ministry is determined to provide more training opportunities to increase certification and innovation for the very talented people of Jamaica. This is the essence of what is going to build out the professional pathway in tourism,” said the Minister.
In addition, the Minister also noted that other success stories from the pilot include: 13 college graduates are currently pursuing American Culinary Federation (ACF) certification; 25 academic staff and 9 students are set to receive Certified Hospitality Information Analytics (CHIA) certification from STR Share; and 3 of Jamaica’s ACF certified chefs will be certified as ACF Evaluators, a move that will give local chefs qualification to assess candidates and award certification.
The Project Coordinator Ms. CarolRose Brown noted that though more than 25 hotels signed up, 12 participated in the Pilot, including the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, Spanish Court, Moon Palace, the ClubHotel Riu – Ocho Rios, ‘Half Moon’, Sandals Royal, Sandals Montego Bay, Royalton Negril, Hedonism II Negril, Coco La Palm and Sunset at the Palms.
Minister of Education, Senator, Hon. Ruel Reid, said in remarks read by Regional Director Dr Michelle Pinnock, that he was satisfied with the outcome of the pilot, noting, “The goal of these certifications is in line with the ministry’s goal that by age 30 all Jamaicans should hold some form of certification.”
He was pleased that the JCTI had embarked on providing international industry certified workers for tourism and notes that with the Ministry of Education Youth and Information “we’ve had an increase in the number of students majoring in tourism related courses, an increase in the number successfully passing their examinations and gaining international industry certification as professionals.”
Senator Reid’s Representative also said the Joint Committee on Tertiary Education (JCTE) had spearheaded and coordinated talks with the JCTI and The National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) senior executives to provide National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) certification for hotel workers across Jamaica, starting Early in the new financial year.
The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) has also endorsed the JCTI’s programs. President Omar Robinson lauded the first cohort of 150 tourism employees who participated in JCTI pilot, stating that the international certification programs would provide them with valuable knowledge to aid in their development and growth as true professionals.
He charged the participants “to become the change agents as our tourism product evolves; for them to become the creators or innovators of the future of tourism I Jamaica and ultimately the Caribbean.”
The JCTI has also received endorsement from the JCTE with its president, Dr. Cecil Cornwall welcoming the avenues being created for a wider spread of professionalism in the hospitality sector.