Industry keen to play part in new tourism school

| 01/11/2011

(CNS): Following the premier’s announcement in the Legislative Assembly in September that government will be establishing a hospitality school the private sector has put in place plans to develop its own education and training committee through the Cayman Islands Tourism Association. The association anticipates working in tandem with government to ensure the school fits the needs of the industry. Trina Christian-Savage, Executive Director with the CITA said the association is currently forming an education and training committee headed by Ritz-Carlton General Manager Mark Langevin and Marriott Beach Resort General Manager Enrique Tasende.

“We have just redefined the mandate for the committee,” she stated. “The new education and training committee will provide guidance to the government with regard to the development of policy as it related to training and education within the tourism industry.”
Christian-Savage said it was important that the private sector be part of the process and provide input along the way, becoming involved in issues such as when the ideal time is for a young person to be exposed to the industry.

“We feel it is important to get young people involved as young as possible. The earlier they gain exposure the earlier they may realise that this is an industry for them. In this way we can find those passionate students who would be well-fitted to a career in tourism,” she said, adding that the sector hoped the school will provide students with the tools that fit the industry.

West Bay MLA, Cline Glidden said government had planned to work closely with the private sector. “In terms of the practical elements of the courses, government also intends to extend the partnership to include hotels and restaurants that would be willing and able to offer a learning environment in support of this programme. I am confident that at the appropriate time the private sector will step up in this regard and we look forward to working with them to turning this long awaited initiative into a reality,” he said.

In his recent announcement to the Legislative Assembly Bush stated that the hospitality school was long overdue and the tourism department was working with UCCI and members of the private sector to put plans in place to get it established. He also revealed that it would be utilising Treasure Island as the main location for practical training.

Explaining the details of how the school would work, Gina Matthews from the Department of Tourism said the mission of the hospitality school was to provide technical training at an international certification level for career opportunities in the hospitality industry. 

The school will be implemented in two phases over 7 years.  The first phase (1-3 years) would offer a City and Guild certification and associate degree programme with international partners such as Cornell University and Johnson and Wales, offering accredited certification for skilled level and associate degree programmes in the areas such as food preparation, food and beverage, front office operations and spa services.

The second phase would establish degree programmes (3-7 years) and identify new core areas of study, such as for careers as a rooms division manager, Maître D, spa director and watersports/dive instructor.

It is also anticipated during this second phase of development that the school would identify partnerships with international universities for Bachelor degree programmes. It would also partner with Ministry of Tourism scholarship programme as a means of financial support for students as well as attract international students to enrol in the UCCI hospitality school.

Matthews explained that an advisory council will be appointed for the hospitality school to assist with the administration and to ensure the school achieves its overall mission and objectives. Its membership will be made up of individuals from the UCCI, the government (Tourism and Immigration departments), the Chamber of Commerce, private sector members from restaurants and accommodation as well as a representative from the financial services sector.

See related story Tourism school planned for local and foreign students


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree that an institute of training for these trades is commendable, however most of the experience could be met by proper apprenticeship periods to reduce the number of years necessary to become qualified.

    To the best of my knowledge and with due respect, many of the staff at CITA itself, construction industry and in many trades got their "qualifications" from on the job training/experience.

    Is there actually anyone on the board or head of CITA with at least a bachelors degree in hotel managent/business or related field? Granted, it is arguable that a Caymanian status holder feels 'entitled' to whatever job they desire and will be giving the chance to prove themselves even if lacking experience and education!

    SO yes set up formal instruction etc but please dont make this about moving the goal post again and forcing those with experience to be denied opportunities while the jobs are filled by foreign workers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    7 years of school to qualify as a dive instructor?

    • Anonymous says:

      As a Caymanian who grew up in a tourism industry ably run almost exclusively by Caymanians and worked in hotels myself, I am nothing short of disgusted by CITA and it’s attitude to this entire issue. This is too little too late. You have focussed too much on cheap labour – and damaged our product and our people as a result. Being a dive master is not something that is hard to train. You have and continue to overcomplicate the simple. Caymanians have been unduly excluded to the point where they have little vested in our future.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful idea to have better job training for local residents. Something I have recommended many times.

    Now need school for electricians, plumbers, carpenters etc. and hair dressers.