More than 400 job opportunities in tourism, says JTB exec
Montego Bay, St James — Dozens of unemployed young people flocked the Montego Bay Boys and Girls Club a week ago for Hospitality From All Angles — a career expo spearheaded by Sandals resorts in the Montego Bay region in partnership with the Montego Bay Police Youth Club.
Sixty of them signed up for Sandals' Hospitality Training Programme.
The expo, intended to expose young people to the various job offerings available in the hospitality industry as well as provide insight into the current job market, pulled tourim entities as well as several training and job placement agencies.
"The career day expo is a good venture," said Annmarie Gordon of the Jamaica Tourist Board. "Reaching out to the community at large and bringing tourism to the people is very important. A lot of people do not realise how extensive the job possibilities in the industry are. There are over 400 job opportunities in the tourism industry, yet when we tell our young people this they are amazed," she said.
For Sherita Pinnock, a member of the Montego Bay Boys and Girls Club, the event provided relevant information about the industry which she one day hopes to be a part of.
"There are many persons who want to move ahead but just aren't sure of the path to take," she said. "Events such as these provide us with an opportunity to learn from those who have made it in the industry and become better informed in our career choices."
Pinnock was one of those who signed up for the hotel chain's hospitality training programme.
Sandals Resorts within the region were out in full force with team members from various divisions providing insight into the hospitality experience as well as sharing their journey with young and aspiring hospitality workers. Other agencies represented at the expo included the Tourism Product Development Company, the Social Development Commission, HEART Trust/National Training Agency (NTA), the 4H clubs of Saint James, National Youth Service and Chukka Caribbean.
According to the latest report from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, as of January 2014, over 64,000 young people have fallen among Jamaica's unemployed. In addition to a retracting job market, lack of adequate preparation and requisite skill sets also hinder young people from becoming gainfully employed.
"Many young people aspire to work within the hospitality industry," said Sandals Regional Public Relations Manager Khadine Daley, "but they lack exposure to the variety of jobs that are available and the necessary skills and training required to get these jobs."
Daley was quick to note that for this reason, a close collaboration between tourism entities and training institutions is of even greater importance.
Senior Career Development Officer at HEART Trust/NTA Renae Francis shared a similar opinion. "The HEART/NTA specifically is geared towards training these young people and equipping them for the workforce so that they can contribute to their country as well as internationally."
The expo was part of an ongoing partnership between Sandals Resorts in the Montego Bay region and the Montego Bay Police Youth Club, which falls under the St James Divisional Council of Police Youth Clubs.
"With a network of over 300 young people within the parish of Saint James, the Divisional Council of Police Youth Clubs provide an important avenue for engagement within the second city," said Daley.
She further noted that the Sandals team looks forward to a continued partnership with the Montego Bay Police Youth Club as both entities aim to create opportunities and positive outcomes for young people in and around St James.