Sandals recruits new batch of trainee managers

27 young people to benefit from hands-on training and regional travel as part of company's signature programme

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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SANDALS Resorts International (SRI), which is committed to investing in the development of young people across the Caribbean and continuing to strengthen its succession planning strategy has, since 2012, recruited more than 100 trainee managers to participate in its Management Trainee Programme (MTP).

Most recently, 27 new trainees were selected from among 138 applicants across the region to join the competitive and robust programme.

“The MTP prepares both new hires and existing team members for exciting management and leadership roles throughout the company. Management trainees are exposed to strategic hands-on training through rotations in various departments at a number of the company's resorts throughout the region,” the resort said in a release.

This year's trainees — the fifth cohort to benefit from the programme since its reintroduction in 2012 — include nationals from Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados and St Lucia, with trainees being groomed to become managers in specific divisions. The divisions to receive trainee managers in this cohort include the Butler, Club Sandals, Engineering, Entertainment, Watersports, Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, Sales, Resort Shop, Red Lane Spa and Weddings divisions. Trainees pursuing the Engineering stream will be enrolled in the programme for three years while all other trainees will enrolled for two years.

Just a few weeks ago, Lennox Speid, a recent university graduate, was only an intern. He was enjoying learning the ropes of an industry, was desirous of making his mark in and had big dreams of one day holding a permanent position within the Sandals chain.

Today Speid is one step closer to this dream, having been selected to participate in the MTP.

A Jamaican national, Speid is among three trainees who will be immersed in the operations of the company's Butler Division. He hopes to become a butler manager and to one day move into the Operations Division. Excited about the journey, he said, “It's a great honour and privilege to have been given this opportunity. I think this programme will help me to achieve my goals through the rigorous training that will allow me hands-on experience and prepare me for my career path. I have already been impacted and changed in many ways over the course of the orientation.”

In the first phase of the programme, trainees will be exposed to the operations of all departments. The second phase will see the trainees receiving targeted training in their area of specialisation. Trainees will work closely with managers throughout the duration of the programme and will be exposed to all aspects of leadership and management. In addition, management trainees are required to complete a number of courses, projects and programmes. Having completed a one-week orientation which included sessions with senior company executives as well as personal and professional development training, the 27 trainees, among them Jardine Vassell — the company's reigning team member of the year and Jamer Georges, her predecessor, have now been assigned to their first rotation.

Adam Stewart, SRI's deputy chairman, said the programme was an illustration of the company's commitment to investing in and providing opportunities for young people across the region. “The talent that exists in our resorts and our communities is impressive. We are committed to identifying these talented young people, providing them with opportunities for growth and development and helping them to find and pursue their passions. The Management Trainee Programme is one of the initiatives I am most proud of because I have seen how it has changed the lives of countless young people across the region,” he said.

“This programme is an investment in our team members, an investment in the young people of the Caribbean, and ultimately an investment in the region's hospitality sector. We are resolute in our commitment to developing our human resources, and I am excited for the new trainee managers who have embarked on this life-changing journey,” added Stewart.

Life-changing is exactly the word that best describes what the experience means for Sheudy Henry, a St Lucian national who started with the company as a hospitality trainee. Henry, who previously worked as the food and beverage secretary at Sandals Grande St Lucian Resort, hopes to become a food and beverage manager and eventually the company's chief operations officer. She said, “I expect to gain as much knowledge as I can from the managers and team members I'll be working with at the various resorts I'll be visiting. I also want to inspire others to not limit themselves. Starting as a hospitality trainee, I never thought I'd be here today. I want people to know that they can always be more.”

The same rings true for Devron McFarlane, who has worked as an AC and refrigeration technician at Sandals Montego Bay for 11 years. Taking a leap of faith in his quest to better himself, McFarlane applied for the programme on the encouragement of his training manager. “What I was doing was good, but I wanted to do better,” he said. “Personal development and growth have always been important to me. I have a love for air conditioning and refrigeration but I am also multifaceted. I like chemistry, plumbing and electrical work, and I just want to create things.” McFarlane hopes to become a chief engineer within the chain and also harbours dreams of being the first Jamaican to create his own refrigerator brand for the market.

The new recruits will join an existing cohort of trainees who are now transitioning into phase two of their programme, and the company intends to host another recruitment programme in January 2019.


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