The Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute (CHTTI) continues to position itself as being different from any other educational institution that young persons may consider as apprentices who are enrolled at the Institute embark on a life altering journey. It is a training program unlike any other as we are determined to provide a platform that will guarantee a fulfilling future through specific course choices. The Institute continues to extend opportunities to sharpen the mind, expand practical and academic knowledge and to stretch the intellectual reach while apprentices develop skills as an independent thinker and a confident hospitality professional.
This journey will never be the cut and dry approach that may be the business as usual path as concentrated training within the vocational and hospitality industry is not met with the usual popularity of other fields. It is for this reason that the CHTTI, hosted seventeen (17) secondary schools from across the country at its Hospitality Career Preparation Workshop (HCP).
The Workshop took place on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017 from 10:30 am at the National Cultural Centre and in attendance along with over three hundred participants were the Minister of Economic Development Hon. Guy Joseph and Regional Counsellor for Cooperation at the Embassy of France His Excellency Dr. Stephane Dovert.
The Career Preparation Workshop was held under the theme “Determination, Initiative and Persistence…Foundations for Hospitality Excellence.” A key objective of the Workshop was to address the critical issue of youth unemployment in Saint Lucia at this point in time. CHTTI embraced the concept of the Career Preparation Workshop as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility to play its part in building a skilled and successful workforce with career development and income earning potential. Other corporate partners joining the Institute in this initiative were The Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Alliance Francaise de Sent Lucie, Celestial Self Development Centre, FLOW, Trans Caribbean Agencies, WASCO, Excel Signs, Tolyn Manufacturers, Windward and Leeward Brewery, WebPro Lights, Printzone, SMJ Beverages, J.E.Bergasse, The ICE Factory and the Office of the Prime Minister.
The panel presented to the gathering on a range of key topics that would prepare any school leaver for the many opportunities that lie ahead with particular emphasis on the hospitality and tourism industry. A strong delegation of apprentices from the Institute was present and displayed the work that they have learnt thus far with presentations in Spanish and also Restaurant and Bartending demonstrations. What was unique about the HCP was that before each presentation from the panel the students present were treated with a drama piece from young talented students who introduced each presentation with visual representations of what is expected and what is the reality in the search for employment.
Mrs. Evelyne Gasse, Director of Alliance Française Saint Lucia opened the formal session providing students with vital information on both the local and international job markets as she spoke under the topic “Market Mapping: How to look for a Job in St Lucia and Abroad”. Her presentation centered around teaching the students on the various ways of formulating a job search action plan whilst targeting specific companies and using local and international recruitment tools. This presentation certainly set the stage for those that followed.
Mrs Thecla Deterville of Celestial Self Development Centre followed with a thought provoking presentation entitled “Network Your Way to A New Job” which saw vibrant interaction from the audience as her delivery certainly had the attention of the room. Mrs. Deterville’s presentation sought to highlight a hidden fact that most job openings are seldom advertised or announced but filled through word of mouth or networking. Through this set foundation set, the presentation went on to highlight what is commonly known as the “hidden job market” and brought to the fore that young job seekers fail to utilize networking for all of its worth. Students present were able to gain valuable networking knowledge and ways that they can effectively use networking to expand their sphere of influence.
The next presentation was one of significance yet it’s simply practical approach meant that all present learnt a great deal once the presenter was done. Mr. Gasper George, Country Manager of Amerijet presented under the topic “CV and Cover Letter Preparation” and guided students through the process of preparing a well-presented cover letter, resume and curriculum vitae so that this vital set of documents would be able to highlight their achievements. The main objective of this session was to ensure students present understood the power of a carefully written resume and CV in giving the recruiter a clear indication of why they were right for the job.
The previous presentation was further complemented by the next speaker Mr Ernest Ottley who gave a powerful presentation on the topic “Dress for Success”. It is a known fact that today candidates seeking employment wear inappropriate clothing and unnecessary accessories to an interview. Recruiters continue to state that applicants show pierced body parts, tattooed skin and spiked hair. These recruiters go further to add that job seekers are simply not ready and the outlandish dress choices that they make costs some the opportunity at gainful employment. Mr. Ottley used his unique presentation style to establish and maintain an interactive atmosphere as he drew on a number of examples to provide valuable insight into simple dress techniques that would leave a lasting and powerful impact.
“Interview Skills” rounded off the formal presentations and this was done by Mrs. J. Wendy Bailey-Joseph who is the Director of Lynchburg College, Saint Lucia Campus. Mrs. Bailey-Joseph sought to use her presentation to prepare the participating students for future interviews with recruiters. Her main objective, as she stated, was to provide those present with an in-depth understanding of the interview and employment selection process so as to help them improve their skills as interviewees. Her presentation saw a summary of the presentations that preceded her clearly showing that all aspects of the presentations cannot work in isolation as young persons need to be very prepared before and during their venture into the world of work. Mrs. Bailey-Joseph stressed on communication skills, interview attire, the do’s and don’ts of an interview and how to handle behavior based questions. By the end of this presentation students were given a wealth of information that will surely see them handling their next interview very well.
To close the proceedings, all students were presented with Certificates of Participation from the CHTTI to indicate their successful completion of the Workshop. Ms. Ann-Margaret Adams, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Ag) of the Ministry of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting congratulated all present on their participation. She also went on to speak about the many positive changes that will happen in the tourism industry that will have lasting effects. Ms. Adams welcomed the work of the Institute and pledged the continued partnership between the Institute and the Ministry to ensure that many will stand to benefit from the industry and all it has to offer.
From a practical stand point, it is widely known that today’s competitive job market demands that students possess knowledge, skills, and relevant job experience that will set them apart. The CHTTI Hospitality Career Preparation Workshop activities sought to provide the tools necessary to increase their chances of obtaining employment upon completion of high school or college. CHTTI believes that career planning and preparation should be an ongoing process throughout high school and post-secondary studies. The workshop has been designed to help graduating students and job seekers to take an active role in identifying career goals and acquiring experiences which will complement their academic programs.