Twenty-six young individuals have begun training to access job opportunities in the tourism industry, through the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association’s (SLHTA) Apprenticeship Programme.
Funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Apprenticeship Programme was originally introduced in December 2014 to target unemployed youth between the ages of 18 to 35.
The programme was relaunched on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022, during an orientation exercise at the Alfiona Plaza in Rodney Heights, Gros Islet. Participants will receive Customer Service & Personal Development training, as well as on the job training at hotels and restaurants around the island. Personnel from the Human Development Network and HTEC Management Solutions were on hand to carry out an initial training session with the apprentices. Also in attendance were representatives from the SLHTA, TEF, and the Department of Social Transformation.
Chairman of the TEF, Winston Anderson, explained that the relaunching of the programme comes at an opportune time. Pointing to the fast-approaching Winter Season, he said: “We are sensing a strong demand from the private sector for passionate and enthusiastic team members. Our Apprenticeship Programme will provide on-the-job training for youth who are keen on starting careers in culinary arts, restaurant service occupations and bartending.”
He continued: “Moreover, we are committed to connecting these opportunities to youth in marginalized communities. Pre- pandemic, the SLHTA TEF enrolled over 600 persons in this Programme. Today we recommenced the programme with a cohort of twenty-six persons and hope to meet our target of 100 persons by December this year.”
Programme Manager of the TEF, Ms. Donette Ismael, said that the TEF was proud to fund the programme once again. Once young people are given an opportunity, she noted, great things can happen. She urged the participants not to limit themselves and encouraged them to be open to learning and growing.
Said Ismael: “I want you to take this programme and give it your all! Sometimes it may be rocky along the way and some things may not be pleasing to you, but do not give up! Be focused on what you want to achieve.”
Stressing that one’s mindset is everything, she added: “Your current situation has no bearing on what you can accomplish. What you say you can do, you can do; what you say you cannot do, you cannot do. It is your thinking that will get you where you want to be.”
The majority of this year’s participants are from the Faux A Chaud community and were identified by the Department of Social Transformation. Speaking at Wednesday’s orientation, Social Transformation Officer, Ms. Fedora Justin-Alcindor, stated: “I’m very, very proud to see so many young people here today. I believe the longest journey starts with the first step. You’re here today and this is the first step… I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to SLHTA /TEF for the opportunity given to communities. It shows that whenever persons are given an opportunity, they take advantage of it.”