Free online training for tourism workers

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI), the training arm of the Ministry of Tourism, is slated to kick-start eight free online courses on Wednesday, April 15, for tourism workers on furlough as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitality sector.

The Ministry of Tourism is inviting candidates to sign up for the courses online, which will be available for 12 weeks in the first instance, and will run to late July 2020.

“The JCTI will provide online certification programmes to employees who have been laid off, and who want to use this time to improve their qualifications. These courses will be offered free of cost,” noted Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

According to the minister, the move demonstrates the importance of the Government’s human capital development strategy that is being implemented by the JCTI.

“One of the important goals of this strategy is to find ways to help tourism workers become certified,” he said.

The intervention will be implemented in collaboration with local and international partners, including National Restaurant Association (NRA), American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), and the Human Employment Resource Training Trust, National Service Training Agency (HEART Trust NSTA). The courses will be hosted by WebEx.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the programme will be undertaken in collaboration with employers to ensure they are aware of the individuals with the most desirable skills to support their companies post-COVID-19.

“The programme will become active after Easter and will be piloted by the head of the JCTI, Carol Rose Brown. The [Andrew] Holness[-led] Administration and Minister Bartlett are very concerned about the welfare of our tourism workers and want to ensure that many strategies are activated to ensure their continued advancement, despite the challenging circumstances,” noted Delano Seiveright, senior advisor/strategist in the Ministry of Tourism.

Seiveright added that the programme will support the development of people in the sector by offering opportunities for them to achieve the certification required to support themselves “as we move forward”. It will prepare employees to return to their jobs with better skills, help businesses ensure that the workforce meets the highest standards, and ensure employees and their families are not left alone in the face of the current challenges.

Six of the eight courses — guest room attendant, public area sanitation attendant, laundry attendant, kitchen steward/porter, certified banquet server, and basic supervision — will be offered by HEART Trust/NSTA. Meanwhile, the NRA is expected to offer ServSafe, a course for every person in the hospitality sector, and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute will be on board to provide a certified restaurant server course.

In addition to the free ServSafe course, the NRA is also expected to offer Refresher ServSafe for Takeout Services and Refresher ServSafe for Delivery Services, which are aimed at the fast food industry.

All courses will include certification examinations. Successful candidates will receive certificates from NRA, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, or HEART Trust/NSTA, as required.

The programmes will be facilitated by HEART Trust/NSTA-certified tutors who are not in classrooms because of the social distancing requirements. These individuals will deliver the programmes and will be paid by HEART Trust/NSTA.

The JCTI, which will pay for the courses offered by the NRA and AHLEI, will also pay for the digitisation of the programmes being offered by HEART Trust/NSTA.

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