ROSE HALL, St James — As Sandals Resorts International (SRI) continues to pursue expansion plans over the next three to five years, it will hire 3,000 more employees to help execute its vision. Three hundred of them will be at management level and they will be on the job within the next three years, according to an upbeat SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.
"There is more happening in tourism than has ever been happening in our history. At this moment as we look forward, we recovered very strongly from COVID and are continuing to recover," he told a gathering of mostly high school students during the Jamaica Youth Tourism Summit held at Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on Thursday.
"All we need from you is the right attitude and we will train you to be your best self and an incredible professional," he told attendees.
In a post-event interview with the Jamaica Observer, for which he is also executive chairman, Stewart said, "If people come in with skills, that's a plus; often it means that they can move a little faster. But truthfully, the company is just looking for the right attitude. We have the training machinery and the skills in any one of our resorts across the Caribbean to be able to define the 'superpowers'… within each of our team members. So, for us, the résumé is very important but certainly, the attitude is more important and then we will find and train and skill you up to as high as you want to go, all paid for by the company."
Like their peers in the rest of the world, stakeholders in the local tourism industry are grappling with a shortage of skilled labour. With major hotel projects planned for Jamaica — more than 6,000 rooms are now being built or renovated — that shortfall in workers is expected to worsen unless action is taken to increase the supply.
Sandals Dunn's River, which is scheduled to open its doors next year, is among the projects under way and, according to Stewart, almost 1,000 of the staff SRI will hire will join the team there. Almost 50 of them will be managers "because of the sophistication" of the services offered.
"They are all incredible opportunities. You know, everything from retail and spa to IT (information technology), water sports, banquets, food and beverage, rooms division," he said.
Other SRI projects in the pipeline include the expansion of Sandals Negril, Beaches Negril and the new Beaches Runaway Bay in Jamaica. There are also plans for the rest of the Caribbean.
He also said there is "a new product coming on in St Vincent and the Grenadines [and] Curaçao is still growing as we open this year".
"We remain incredibly proud of the growth of the company, our big goals for the future, and I remain amazed and proud to be able to say that we are the Caribbean champions of hospitality, born out of Jamaica, but we've gone abroad across the region. And we're really looking forward to the future and to the journey with who joins our team," he added.