Mr. Bartlett, who was speaking to high-school students and teachers at Royalton Resorts in Trelawny, outlined that the programme will be creating a professional cadre of tourism workers capable of embracing new innovations in the industry.
He said among the new and future highlights is the introduction of information and communications technology (ICT) applications in the tourism sector.
“Tourism understands itself, because we are among the most responsive industries to the new technologies that are around, and so the new workers of tourism are going to have to become very conversant with the Internet… and be able to manipulate ICT applications in order to satisfy the new tourists that will come from the different destinations across the world,” Mr. Bartlett explained.
“The best place to start is within our high-school system, and so this programme that we started in September  is intended to begin to get you in the tune of understanding what is required for service, how important service is and the many ways that technology is going to help to facilitate high-quality service in the industry,” he added.
The Minister said the Government is on a drive to certify those who are currently working in the sector but lack certification.
Mr. Bartlett argued that certification should match experience that will allow greater mobility within the industry on a local and international scale, adding that the Government is determined to provide this opportunity to current workers who are handicapped by this setback.
“So, what we want to do now, through the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI), is to create certification for those workers, supervisors, chefs and so on who are in the industry now and are not certified,” Mr. Bartlett said.
“We have partnered with international institutions like the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and the Valencia School, to offer certifications that are acceptable across the world, so that our workers can be so certified to give them mobility, not just in Jamaica but to anywhere in the world,” the Minister added.
The $100-million HTMP is targeting some 650 high-school students across the island for broad-based learning and training on the tasks, knowledge and skill sets required to build a career within the tourism and hospitality industry.
It is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and the Ministry of Tourism, and is being offered by the AHLEI.
The programme will facilitate a two-year training course for students in grades 11, 12 and 13 free of cost, and upon completion, they will gain an Associate Degree in Customer Service, AHLEI certification, National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) level-four certification, and Customer Service Industry Association recognition.
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