Work is advanced to establish the Jamaica Centre for Tourism and Innovation, which will target training and certification for the hospitality industry’s labour force.
This was disclosed by portfolio minister Edmund Bartlett during the presentation of the 2016 Tourism Service Excellence Programme (TSEP) semi-finalists at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.
The centre aims to create a certified workforce based on academic skills and competence.
It will serve to accelerate the transformation of tourism enterprises by engaging institutions and individuals to stimulate and initiate new ideas, as well as harnessing science and technology to transfer knowledge into practice within the sector.
The facility will offer a practical curriculum that complements existing hospitality programmes at several tertiary institutions.
Its programmes will target aspiring supervisors, managers and other hospitality professionals in areas such as culinary, spa and hospitality management.
“If you are working in the tourism sector and you are in a supervisory position... but you are not accredited, you can then come to us and be fully accredited so that you can take your next step up the ladder of management in the industry,” Bartlett said.
He contended that the institution will mark a change in the tourism sector’s labour market arrangements.
“It will be based also on a global accredited arrangement that will enable graduates to be accepted in any country in the world that you go in the tourism industry,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Bartlett advised that a pension scheme for tourism workers will be implemented in September.
He said this forms part of the Government’s undertaking to ensure that “social security arrangements” are provided for workers.
“After you have worked and done well and given this high-quality service above self, you must not be left to flounder on the rocks of retirement. You must be anchored safely on the shores of a secure retirement,” he said.
In the meantime, Bartlett commended the TSEP semi-finalists for their commitment to the industry and urged them to continue giving high-quality service that will ultimately redound to Jamaica’s benefit.
The TSEP awards, which are being reintroduced, bestow the highest recognition to individuals and organisations in the tourism sector for service excellence.
The 2016 individual semi-finalists are Wilfred Chambers from the Bob Marley Museum; Marie Oswald, Kingston Craft Market; Winsome Wynter, Jamaica Customs Agency; Curley Colliston Roberts, Rose Hall Great House; Simone Ffolkes, Sandals Royal Plantation; Jason Cammock, Sandals Royal Plantation; and Anthony Thaxter, Trident Hotel.
The shortlisted organisations are the Jamaica Pegasus hotel; Leisure for Pleasure; VIP Attractions; the Boardwalk Village; Sunset at the Palms; Couples San Souci; Franklyn D Resort; Trident Hotel; Appleton Estate; and Jakes Holdings.
All semi-finalists have been selected from nominations received from the island’s resort areas, covering all aspects of the industry, and were shortlisted by a panel of independent judges.
The semi-finalists will vie for the top prizes at a grand presentation ceremony at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, Montego Bay, on March 4.