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Tourism minister says companies that invest in workers will reap rewards

Thursday, February 22, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, says organisations that value and invest in their employees will reap the rewards of a truly engaged workforce.

The minister, who was speaking at the annual Melia Braco Village staff awards on Sunday at Melia Braco, Trelawny, said the flipside, however, is that entities that treat their workers as just another commodity will find it increasingly difficult to sustain a competitive advantage.

“Human capital and economic growth tend to go hand in hand. Therefore, if we hope to unlock the unlimited potential of Jamaica's tourism sector, the development of our human capital holds the key,” the minister argued.

Bartlett said it is specifically for this reason that the ministry, in 2017, launched the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI), which is “providing a path to professionalism” for workers in the tourism industry.

“The JCTI is the result of a major collaborative effort with both local and international educational institutions and businesses,” Bartlett noted.

“They include the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), an agency of the Ministry of Tourism; the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; the HEART Trust/NTA and the George Washington University, which have all had a critical role to play in the JCTI's development,” he added.

The minister said the institution offers access to certification programmes that support existing hospitality programmes at several tertiary institutions.

“Through the JCTI, individuals will have access to certification in areas such as hospitality management, tourism management, culinary arts, spa management and many others,” he noted.

Bartlett said that the JCTI pilot project, which began in December 2017, is nearing completion, adding that 150 candidates were targeted to include employed persons seeking accreditation as Certified Hospitality Supervisors, recent college graduates seeking accreditation as Certified Hospitality Supervisors and academic staff seeking credentials to deliver Certified Hospitality Information Analytics training.

“It also includes students seeking accreditation in Certified Hospitality Information Analytics, and American Culinary Federation (ACF) Executive Chefs seeking accreditation as ACF Certified Evaluators,” the minister added.

Bartlett further noted that the candidates who sought Certified Hospitality Information Analytics completed their studies and examinations in November 2017, while the majority of the first cohort of candidates is now preparing for examinations, scheduled to take place in early March 2018.

The minister said that while training is only one aspect of personal and professional development, “our tourism workers, like all workers, ought to be rewarded for their dedication and should feel as if they are truly benefiting from the sector,” he said.

“I am, therefore, pleased to announce that arrangements for introduction of the Tourism Workers' Pension Scheme are well under way. We will be issuing a second set of drafting instructions to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel after comments are received from the Attorney General's Chambers,” Bartlett said.




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