Jose Marti students get a Sandals Royal experience
Sandals Resorts’s Tourism in School programme, aimed at introducing Jamaican students to potential careers in the island’s burgeoning hospitality industry, continues to make its mark on the nation’s youth.
Hospitality students from Jose Marti Technical High School’s Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) cohorts had the benefit of experiencing the tourism product first-hand during a tour of Sandals Royal Plantation recently.
The innovative and interactive tours — which featured sessions with the resort’s hotel manager, environmental health and safety, and learning and development managers — is part of the programme aimed at giving hospitality students a chance to be hands-on as well as interact with experts in various departments on the resort.
Sandals Royal Plantation’s Hotel Manager Sheldon James, in welcoming the students to his resort, said he was excited to reintroduce the programme at the resort and hoped they would find the experience quite meaningful. He also gave a general overview of the resort’s operations and noted that the hospitality industry was in need of bright young minds such as themselves.
“The Tourism in Schools 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 Ocho Rios region and so far the response has been phenomenal,” said Sandals Royal Plantation’s Learning and Development Manager Shree Walker-Smith, who orchestrated the tour.
Walker-Smith pointed out that many of the students had become so intrigued by what they had seen at the resort that they have expressed an interest in entering the hospitality industry after graduating. She also shed light on forward and backward linkages within the tourism industry, demonstrating the resort’s commitment to community engagement but also highlighting the symbiotic relationship between tourism and local economies
The students beamed with excitement as they toured the pristine facilities. Tajae Walker, the EHS manager, said, “We believe in taking care of our environment as much as we take care of our guests. From managing waste water to recycling processes and energy-saving methods, every step is meticulously planned to align with our commitment to a greener planet.”
Walker went on to highlight the resort’s remarkable 19-year journey with EarthCheck, a leading environmental certification programme, emphasising its dedication to sustainable tourism.
Sheldon Haye, hospitality skills instructor and assessor at Jose Marti, said he jumped at the opportunity to have his hospitality students visit the resort to sensitise them on the main operations and key departments as well as the opportunity for them to observe guest interactions and service delivery as part of the tourism product. This, he said, will also help to enhance their learning in preparation for their school-based assessment projects.
Sheldon James, CAPE tourism teacher and CSEC social studies instructor at Jose Marti, expressed gratitude for the opportunity. “We are appreciative of Sandals Royal Plantation for allowing the children to come in and ask all the questions that would help with their Cape research paper,” Haye remarked. “The visit not only broadened the students’ understanding of sustainable practices but also provided them with real world insights that will undoubtedly enrich their academic pursuits.