JAMAICA Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI), which certified more than 300 people in its most recent cohort, is on target to train 8,000 tourism workers over the next five years.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett confirmed this at JCTI’s graduation ceremony at Montego Bay Convention Centre on Wednesday, more than 300 people received certification in tourism-related fields. This represents JCTI’s second batch of graduates, a release from the ministry said yesterday.
JCTI is the training arm of the Ministry of Tourism.
“Human capital development is strategic to our tourism growth agenda and that’s why the JCTI is targeted to train some 8,000 tourism workers in five years. This graduation puts us one step closer to achieving that target.
“Our workers have a lot to do in determining the rate at which we grow, by giving the best service there is at all times, as it is through their skill sets, professionalism and innovation we will be able to attract more visitors and increase earnings,” the minister is quoted as saying.
Among the more than 300 graduates, there are 14 certified hospitality educators, nine certified hospitality instructors, 17 culinary tutors, 12 culinarians and pastry chefs, 20 bartender trainers, and more than 200 bartenders.
The release said JCTI was established to facilitate the development of professionals in the sector who themselves will set high standards as leaders, and collectively raise the industry to the highest level that travellers demand.
In April this year, there were more than 150 graduates who gained AHLEI and NVQJ certification.
For his part, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid said: “I applaud this initiative as this certification will ensure that Jamaicans will take their place in the workforce and rise to the highest levels, because as our workers improve so will their compensation.
“Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve, and so I want all Jamaicans to continue learning and engaging in continuous professional development.
“This programme is embedded in our curriculum and is the start of great things in tourism, so workers can benefit more from the tourism dollar,” he said.
As part of JCTI’s efforts to extend training and certification to a younger cohort, the release said the Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme (HTMP) was recently launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
HTMP is a first-of-its-kind certification programme for high schools developed by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), and will allow students to gain entry-level qualification in tourism as well as associate degrees in customer service and recognition by the local Customer Service Association.
In encouraging the graduates to take their place within the sector, Minister Bartlett reminded them: “You are among a group of pioneers in tourism training as no one else in Jamaica or the Caribbean has the certification that you do. In providing this development of a professional pathway for our tourism workers, we are not trying to just create professional workers, but create entrepreneurs who will be innovative and add great value wherever they go.”