WITH its aim to change the way people see themselves and to propel them to strive for greater, Sandals Corporate University (SCU) — the developmental arm of the Sandals and Beaches Resorts — continues to create training opportunities to drive the enhancement of the brand's world-class team.
To this effect, the SCU has strengthened its Management Training Programme (MTP), with the first cohort consisting of recent graduates from The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology, Jamaica.
Originally developed in the 1980s as an important training tool, the aim of the MTP is to nurture leaders for continuation of the company's operations.
The onset of COVID-19 led to a hiatus, but 2023 presented the ideal opportunity for the SCU to reimagine the next leg of the journey.
The 2023 roll-out started with 12 engineering trainees and one front-of-house operations trainee, completing the two-year programme at resorts across the Caribbean.
Wayne Cummings, chairman of the board for SCU, expressed his delight in the programme as he pointed out that he was one of the first MTP participants some two decades ago.
"I understand the value of this programme, not only to us as a brand, but also in developing future leaders for the Caribbean. There was so much I learnt in a shorter window back then and so with an extension to a two-year time period, it gives the trainees much more time to absorb information and to integrate themselves in the operations.
"I am confident that over the period, they too will impart new perspectives to propel us even more into how we reimagine hospitality for years to come," said Cummings.
The MTP guides trainees across various departments throughout the resorts to give them greater scope of the hotels' operations. After which, they are given the flexibility to choose a department to work with based on their competences and preference.
In this instance, the first cohort since the hiatus of the MTP will predominantly be trained in engineering operations.
The emphasis on the development of future engineers comes from opportunities for proficient persons to lead the charge as identified by corporate director of resort engineering, Bryan Rafferty.
"I, too, am a product of the MTP where I did two cycles of training. Having spoken with each of the trainees, I can say that they are in a prime place in their life, having just finished their studies and so it is the ideal avenue to help with integrating more trained and qualified persons in our operations. By doing this, we believe we will see greater results in resolving technical issues and retaining great talent for succession planning for our operations," said Rafferty.
In the meantime, Dominic Duncan, the only trainee for front of house operations, expressed how warm, receptive and welcoming the team has been thus far.
According to Duncan, this is confirmation for him that joining the programme was the right decision.
"I have always felt a pull to be more customer-centric and I have also always loved the hospitality industry. There were admittedly other places I could have applied to but I had seen and heard enough about the Sandals and Beaches brands and how they take a very deliberate and hands on approach to training and knew this is where I wanted to be," said Duncan.
He added that since being with the brand he has felt a sense of alignment and feels right at home.
Darrien Maynard, who is assigned to Sandals Barbados, shared his elation when he was told that he was selected for the programme.
"The application process for the MTP was an intense experience so when I found out I was selected, I was at a loss for words. I view Sandals as the perfect place to begin my professional journey. I am happy that the brand is in my home country and is extending itself to ensure that our generation has a say in how the Caribbean is developed," said Maynard.
The Barbadian shared that above all, he's looking forward to absorbing as much as he can to become an expert leader in his field and in the industry.
The MTP's next cohort of trainees will start in September 2023 and the programme overall will seek to impact a total of 40 candidates over the next two years.