OVER 1000 young men and women from St. Lucia have now graduated the Sandals Hospitality Training Programme (HTP), widening the enormous pool of human resources available to the island’s evolving hospitality industry.
The milestone achievement was achieved recently with the graduation of 80 young people from the ten-week programme, which provides practical and theoretical exposure to all areas of hospitality, surpassing the basic standards required by the global industry. Some individuals are offered immediate full-time employment with Sandals Resorts – having excelled at all levels of training.
While they may have been trained by the luxury-included resort, the graduates are available to hospitality organizations across Saint Lucia having now been certified and armed with letters of recommendation from Sandals General Managers. In fact, the programme is so open, Sandals Resorts has even extended an invitation to other hotels and organisations to tap into this pool of graduates directly by contacting any resort Human Resource team for a list of outstanding graduates.
Michealla Charles-Noel who graduated from Sandals Halcyon in October described the experience as one of personal commitment and pride, where all programme participants worked “hard” and whose dedication would “not go unrewarded.”
“This training programme is a wonderful tool in the working world. It opens many doors of opportunity and for this I am most grateful,” Noel said, charging our fellow graduates to use the experience as the launching pad for careers in the island’s largest industry,” Noel said.
Cristal Cadette who graduated from Sandals Grande in June had similar sentiments. According to this young single mother of two, the benefits of the programme outweighed the challenges.
“The lessons learnt and skills acquired during the programme have created a life changing experience for me. I would not have had it any different and believe me if given a second chance I would do it all over again… the knowledge gained has enabled me to develop into a well-rounded hospitality professional,” Cadette said.
She added, “As I move to the next level I will use all the training and knowledge gained to become a true professional. My attitude and personality has been influenced positively. Service truly starts with a smile and making today better than it was yesterday is my focus.”
Cadette represents a large number of successful HTP graduates who have all gone on to develop rewarding careers in hospitality at institutions throughout the island.
Said Regional Group Manager for Human Resources and Training, Ryan Matthew. “Since 2008 the programme has developed tremendously through a curriculum that fits with the international hospitality training standards and allows for a level of training that prepares young Saint Lucians for work in almost any sector of the industry. But we can’t keep them all for ourselves so we have extended an invitation to our colleagues in the industry to tap into this pool of exceptional young talents who are prepared to take us to the next level.”
The Sandals Hospitality Training Programme has been ongoing for more than a decade, and beyond St. Lucia has graduated thousands of young individuals from across the Caribbean, many of whom have grown into exceptional hospitality professionals.
Among the other outstanding success stories would include Saint Lucia’s Rochelle Casimir who was a product of the HTP initiative and gained employment immediately after graduating. Casimir continued to shine in the operations of the company and in 2014 she earned a place in Management Training Programme (MTP) which took her to several Sandals Resorts across the Caribbean. Casimir has recently graduated from that programme and is poised to take a management position in Food & Beverage at a Sandals Resort.