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CTO: Skills revolution needed to keep Caribbean tourism competitive

The skills revolution needed to keep Caribbean tourism competitive will be a key subject of discussion when human resources professionals from across the region gather for the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 10th Tourism Human Resources Conference.

The conference, which will be held from 20-22 May, 2020 in Nevis under the theme: “Navigating the Next Phase of Caribbean Tourism”, is being organised in collaboration with the Nevis Tourism Authority.

“As the future of work emerges within the global tourism industry, the challenge for employers to recruit, retain and upskill workers to add value to their organisations becomes an ever-more essential component of operating successful tourism businesses,” said Sharon Banfield, the CTO’s director of resource mobilisation and development. “But there is a substantial disruption moving between present day and desired future. That disruption is the tourism industry entering the world of skills and competencies. In many sectors around the world, it is being referred to as the skills revolution.” 

Canadian Joe Baker, dean of the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at Centennial College in Toronto, and member of the board of directors of Tourism HR Canada, will present on the subject.

Baker, an expert at leading multi-generational workforces, will conduct an interactive presentation on how Canada is addressing an acute tourism industry labour shortage by creating a national framework of skills and competencies for employers and educators to access and leverage to foster prosperity.

“The new era of skills and competencies is upon us as employers are driven to find and build a resilient and agile workforce that may not come through the doors with relevant education and experience,” Banfield said. “The opportunity is there for employers to identify, recruit and harness the skills required for new workers to thrive and contribute to the sustainability and growth of tourism in an increasingly competitive market.”

Baker, who holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Toronto, specialising in higher education leadership, is a regular contributor to hospitality and tourism industry trade publications and media outlets. He has developed a unique advocacy space for the collaboration between education and industry to build a resilient and agile tourism workforce. In January of 2020 he delivered a dynamic presentation at Impact Sustainable Travel and Tourism Conference in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada outlining challenges and strategies required for education to contribute to the future of the tourism industry itself.

His presentation at the conference will be one of many to help employers and HR professionals understand how to evolve their mindset from one of education and experience to one of skills and competencies. It will challenge conventional thinking and provide employers insight into key practices within the workplace that will contribute to organisational and industry success.

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