AHEAD of the opening of the 2023 school year Sandals Resorts, in partnership with the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), hired and trained 120 high school interns for the summer, under the Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) Programme.
The programme, which was facilitated from July 31-August 25, allowed students the opportunity to gain exposure in resort operation areas such as housekeeping, front office, bar, restaurant, kitchen, cost control, engineering and revenue-generation.
The HTM programme is a two-year certification undertaking in tourism, available to high school students who are placed at various industry organisations. It forms a part of the Human Capital Development Strategy developed by the Ministry of Tourism, which Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation — a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) — is tasked with implementing. Dr Phillip Brown, corporate director for learning, development and service standards at Sandals Corporate University, shared his elation at the company being a part of the programme for yet another year.
"The collaboration between TEF and Sandals is very important to us because of the lives that we get to impact outside of our team members. We've been on board since its inception and, at the core of it, the development of future hospitality professionals is our driving force.
"We offer them both hands-on and theoretical learning. During the period they are able to become internationally certified through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, which is a major partner of our corporate university," said Dr Brown as he thanked the resorts across Jamaica for continuing to play their part in the development of Jamaica's students.
"We are so grateful to our team members across our various resorts who continue to embrace the students with open arms each year by passing on rich industry knowledge for their development. We know they are inspired through testimonials and that we will see many of them, in the near future, join the industry to make an impact," added Dr Brown.
Seaford High School sixth former Tymara Thompson was trained at Sandals Montego Bay Resort and shared her experience over the six-week period.
"This has been such a rich experience for me and I am so happy I got the chance to do this. I've always been interested in front office operations and when I mentioned that upon arrival, that's where I was placed. I learnt quite a bit about what it takes to manage the operations and how to best handle the needs of guests," said Thompson.
She added that sharing and interacting with guests and helping to create personalised experiences for them generated a lasting memory for her, and she looks forward to working in the industry at the end of her studies.
Similarly, Jevaun Downer, student of Green Pond High School, enjoyed his time at the resort's photography shop, Epix.
"I was very fascinated with how much expertise goes into capturing moments for guests. The Epix team takes their jobs very seriously, and that in turn taught me discipline and diligence in executing even simple tasks. I'm happy this programme exists and I encourage other students to get on board," said Downer.