The Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI) continues its work to certify and build new opportunities for the industry’s workers.
Speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said hoteliers are showing an “increasing appetite for training on the job”, which is important in bridging the existing employment arrangement.
He emphasised that the “renewal of human capital” continues to be a driving force in the sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister informed that through the JCTI and its partnership with the Ministry of Education and Youth, high school students are also being engaged.
“We have the Associate Degree in Hotel Management and Customer Service at the upper end of the high school stream… within the Pathway structure… that the Ministry of Education has announced,” Mr. Bartlett added.
He noted that approximately 200 students have graduated from the JCTI’s High School Programme into the sector.
The Minister said, however, that the number of graduates is “not enough” and indicated that efforts will be made to expand the programme to involve more high schools.
“[We will] look at how we can, perhaps, encourage younger entrants [to come] into the tourism sector as part of a pre-employment programme with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and with the HEART/NSTA Trust. We will also look at how we can increase the flow of early entrants into the industry, so we could build and train the replacement cadre for those who have morphed into other areas of activity as a result of the pandemic,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett emphasised that the tourism industry is a key source of income, employment, and wealth for Jamaica.
“The industry generates direct employment, now, for 175,000 Jamaicans and indirect employment of over 354,000, including hotel workers, farmers, craft vendors, entertainers, and transportation operators, among others,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett advised that a Labour Market Review Committee, headed by Executive Director of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Lloyd Waller, and including tourism and education stakeholders, has been established.
“We are looking at, not just the new skill sets that are required for the industry, but how we could create new vistas of understanding between the trainers and the sector itself, so that we could have more appropriate curricula that are fit for purpose,” the Minister said.
The JCTI is a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), an agency of the Ministry of Tourism.
It is tasked with facilitating the development of Jamaica’s valuable human capital and supports innovation for the tourism sector.
Jhuss Khool – Chip Glock (Audio Visual)