October 21, Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett officially launched the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation Database of Certified Persons.
Last Friday, October 21, 2022, Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett officially launched the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) Database of Certified Persons, which enables these persons to connect with potential employers in the industry more effectively.
The database, which was developed in collaboration is accessible via the website, was in collaboration with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).
Speaking to the importance of the Database, Mr. Bartlett said the Database will not only include workers certified through the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) but also professionals and graduates of HEART Trust NSTA, and colleges, as well as persons who have certifications not facilitated by JCTI.
Additionally, individuals certified through the JCTI who are seeking jobs and establishments needing employers will be able to use the Database to meet their needs.
Mr. Bartlett said that this Database of certified workers is critical especially at this time as the sector has lost workers consequent to the shutting down of tourism by the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that some workers had created new opportunities and went on to say that “What that means,” he said, “is that we have to pivot, we have to reimagine our own labor market arrangements to be more attractive to those people who are still available to us.”
Minister Bartlett said, having recognized that “we are not going to get back those whom we have lost,” the JCTI was creating new players. He said training had to be accelerated and that a program was being devised for about 5,000 young people to be trained in basic job readiness, customer service and food safety skills over the next six to eight weeks. This would be done across the north coast, from Port Maria to Negril.
The JHTA and HEART NSTA Trust will be collaborating with the JCTI on this special training and certification program to ensure a cadre of workers will be available for immediate employment with the start of the winter tourist season.
Bartlett said the next step after certification will be the classification of workers in the trade and the setting of wage scales for the different categories. He said adopting the human capital development approach of certifying, classifying, and remunerating accordingly “will be the three steps towards the market reform that the tourism industry needs to ensure that we remain attractive.”
Outgoing JHTA President Clifton Reader also noted that COVID made a lot of people rethink their lives and many went into home-grown businesses and have done exceptionally well, while others had been attracted to “greener pastures in the North”. He said a survey would be conducted shortly to determine how many workers the sector had lost.
Mr. Reader felt that the industry could compete but pointed out that supply and demand were putting pressure on hotels and attractions “to look not only at wages but also benefits packages.” He felt that having examined some best practices in the hotel industry he was persuaded that a meaningful gratuity program, “which if implemented properly, could see up to a 100 per cent increase in salary for workers.”
Mr. Reader said human capital must be protected at all costs, noting, “a hotel is not a hotel till you have trained, capable staff in them and we must, as a promise, take care of that valuable resource that we have.”
Since its establishment five years ago, the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) has certified over 10,000 tourism workers, from entry level up to the level of executive chefs. The brainchild of Minister Bartlett, JCTI was established within the ministry in 2017 to provide certification for industry workers and students studying hospitality, tourism, and culinary arts.
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It subsequently included certification programs for hospitality supervisors, spa supervisors, ServSafe professionals, Hospitality Information Analytics, Customer Service Professionals, and the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program for high school students.
SEEN IN IMAGE: The formidable team behind the JCTI Database of Certified Individuals, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Clifton Reader (left); Director of the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation, CarolRose Brown and Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett. – Image courtesy of Jamaica Tourism Ministry
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