Five Young Locals Secure Full-Time Employment After Completing Sandals Resorts Hospitality Training Programme

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
Top Hospitality Trainee Programme (HTP) KeryAnn Prince receiving a token of appreciation from Sandals Grande Antigua Resort General Manager David Latchimy

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa recently concluded the first cycle of its Hospitality Training Programme (HTP) for 2024 with 21 trainees successfully obtaining certificates of completion and five graduates securing full-time employment.

The training programme now currently in its 16th year has afforded approximately 1,570 young Antiguans the opportunity to sharpen their skills in the tourism industry through in-depth training at the region’s largest hotel chain.

“This year alone we have just about 200 slots available for the highly competitive programme and our hope is to see more young locals taking advantage of this opportunity,” Learning and Development Manager Carlene Spencer shared.

During the 10-week programme, trainees are assigned to departments across the resort where they are coached by departmental trainers to learn relevant operations.

The personalised approach ensures that trainees are exposed to the company’s highest standards and best practices in a range of areas such as guest relations, housekeeping, food and beverage, accounting, cost control, public relations, front office, Club Sandals concierge, sales, engineering and watersports.

KeryAnn Prince was recognised as the top trainee of this cohort. Prince, who was attached to the learning and development division said, “I have always been passionate about the tourism and hospitality industry.

The goal was to experience firsthand, the administrative side of the resort’s operations.

In the learning and development division I learnt a lot about people management, identifying team members’ strengths and areas of opportunity, and the importance of succession and development planning. It was very challenging as I would do the training during the day and work my full-time job at night. However, I was able to push through and complete the programme successfully.”

Reflecting on the experience, Club Sandals concierge trainee Jimal Bissoon remarked, “this experience not only strengthened my knowledge and skills in the industry, but it also opened my eyes to the various aspects and departments that make up a successful resort. I was able to gain a

well-rounded understanding of how each department plays a crucial role in providing exceptional service to guests.

In addition to departmental exposure, trainees are engaged in weekly soft skills sessions that cover a variety of personal development areas, including public speaking, financial management, leadership, decision-making and resume writing.

“By focusing on these key areas, our trainees develop a strong foundation for success in any career path they may choose. Through interactive activities and discussions, they learn the importance of clear and effective communication, both verbally and non-verbally. They also gain valuable insights on how to manage their time efficiently, which is an important skill in today’s fast-paced world.

Problem-solving and teamwork are also emphasized, as these are essential skills in any workplace.

Our trainees learn how to think critically and creatively to find solutions to challenges, as well as how to effectively collaborate with others to achieve a common goal,” Sandals General Manager David Latchimy shared.

“Another important aspect of the soft skills sessions is adaptability. In today’s ever-changing job market, the ability to adapt to new situations and environments is vital. Our trainees learn how to be flexible and open-minded, which not only helps them in their future careers but also in their personal lives.

We are proud to offer these soft skills sessions as part of our programme, knowing that they will have a lasting impact on the personal and professional development of our trainees,” Human Resource Manager Donna Jean Samuel added.

Although, Sandals is unable hire every trainee who completes the programme, the resort has established professional relationship networks with other reputable companies and industry stakeholders that hire recommended high performing trainees from the programme’s database for full-time employment within their organizations.

Graduates of the first cohort 2024 Sandals Hospitality Training Programme with Sandals Grande Antigua General Manager David Latchimy (far left), Hotel Manager Diahann Hibbert-Bacchus and Guest Speaker, Marketing and Communications Manager – Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Maria Blackman (far right).

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