Sandals prepares students for careers in tourism industry

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Sandals prepares students for careers in tourism industry

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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SANDALS Resorts in the Montego Bay Region has continued its drive to get young Jamaican students interested in pursuing careers in the island's growing hospitality industry.

Last week, more than 100 hospitality students from Stony Hill HEART Academy, and Vere Technical High School food management and housekeeping classes had the benefit of experiencing the tourism product first hand during special seminars and tours conducted by Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean.

According to a Sandals release, most of the excited students said they were so impressed with the product that “they were bitten by the tourism bug and look forward to the chance to seek employment at the luxury-included chain as well as elsewhere in the industry, following the completion of their studies”.

The interactive tours, which featured sessions with the resort's executive chef, general manager, environment health and safety manager, assistant executive housekeeper, and learning and development manager is part of the innovative Sandals Tourism in School Programme aimed at giving hospitality students a chance to be hands on as well as interact with experts in the various departments on property.

Sandals Royal Caribbean's General Manager Gerald Christ, in welcoming the students to his resort, said he hoped they would find the experience quite meaningful. He also gave a general overview of the property and its operations and observed that the hospitality industry was in need of bright young minds such as themselves.

“The tourism in school experience at the resort is designed to give hospitality and high school students a chance to see our tourism product up front. Many have only done the theory but haven't been to resorts such as those we have in the Montego Bay region, and so far the response has been phenomenal,” said Sandals' Regional Public Relations Manager Ian Spencer, who conducted the tours at the resorts.

Spencer pointed out that many of the students had become so enamoured with what they had seen at the resorts that they have expressed an interest in entering the hospitality industry after graduating.

The students toured the various food and beverage outlets as well as the other areas on properties and were addressed by Sandals Montego Bay Executive Chef Gianluca Dicostanzo and Executive Sous Chef Junior Mowatt.

The executive sous chef pointed out the operations of the kitchen and stressed the need for students to not just have the practical skills, but also the right attitude in order to gain meaningful employment as chefs within the industry.

Chef Mowatt recounted his career in the industry, which started from humble beginnings, to the students, while stressing the need for constant education if they were to remain on the cutting edge of industry practices. A lively question and answer session followed.

At Sandals Royal Caribbean, students were given practical demonstrations in bed-making and a myriad of housekeeping operating procedures by Assistant Executive Housekeeper Hatola Barnes. She also encouraged them to have a passion for the profession, as it included long hours and sacrifice in order to rise to the top.

“We were very pleased with operations at Sandals Montego Bay and the experiences received. For many of us students, it was our first time touring a resort of this size and prestige, and we really soaked up all the information available,” said student Sean Stephenson.

Chefs from the resort also took time out to attend a Career Day Expo at the neighbouring Flanker Primary and Junior High School, where they gave live demonstrations and encouraged the students to look to being a hotel chef as a viable career opportunity.


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