Hundreds show interest in careers in the hotel industry
More than 100 people showed up to interview for hospitality jobs at a special employment fair yesterday.
The recruitment drive was organised by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Bermuda Hotel Association with the help of the Department of Workforce Development.
Charles Jeffers II, the chief executive officer of the BTA, said: “From what I’ve heard, this is the first time this has happened in a long, long time and hopefully we can see more of them.
“Coming out of this pandemic, I believe that collaboration is going to be key and I think this is a great example of collaboration.”
The Bermuda Hospitality Recruitment Drive, held in the Harbourview Ballroom at the Hamilton Princess Hotel, aimed to fill about 500 jobs spread over 12 hotels.
About 780 people expressed an interest in the jobs fair and people were interviewed on a virtual basis as well as in person – which boosted the numbers.
Mr Jeffers said that, despite an increase in Omicron coronavirus cases, he expected a busy tourism season next year.
He explained that vaccination had kept people more protected and that those who got sick with the Omicron variant appeared to do better than people infected with earlier variants.
Mr Jeffers added that he was optimistic that people would be confident enough to make travel plans.
He said: “I think we all have to be optimistic about the future – if not, I think we can all go home and pack up and I don’t think that’s what we want to do.”
Mr Jeffers added: “I would much rather we do this now and have the 500 jobs filled than be in a position where we’re ready to open and not have people to fill those positions or trained.”
JahZion Lugo, 20, said that he went to the Bermuda Hospitality Recruitment Drive to help get into the world of bartending.
He explained that his mother was a bartender who got him interested in the craft.
Mr Lugo added: “I’m excited to learn – it’s a new experience and that’s what life’s all about really.”
Mr Lugo, from St George’s, said he was “in between jobs” and that his older brother had told him about the fair.
He added that, while he had no experience at present, he hoped to land a job with Rosewood hotel in Hamilton Parish and become “a really skilled bartender in the future”.
Gabrielle Reid, 19, said that she hoped the event would help her get work experience and income.
The Bermuda College student added that she wanted to become a concierge at the Hamilton Princess and work on the front desk.
She said: “I am very much a people person, so I feel like this would be a good area to grow in.
“I find that I’m really good at connecting with people and getting them to open up and feel welcome.”
Ms Reid added: “The front desk is one of the first impressions of the hotel, so if you’re greeted with someone who has a warm personality it gives you an overview of what your experience could be.”
Ms Reid, from Pembroke, admitted that she did not have any experience the hotel industry, but added that she was keen to learn.
The hotels involved offered full-time and part-time positions in all sectors of the hotel industry.
Training will be offered for entry and mid-level positions and posts for experienced professionals were also available.
Stephen Todd, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hotel Association, said that the good response from the hotels showed a desire to “reinvest in the community”.
He added: “What we have is an industry that is keen on getting residents and our Bermudian populace who may be either unemployed or underemployed back into the employment group.
“It’s our view that the hotel industry represents an important industry sector where opportunities across the various job positions exist and where necessary training opportunities also exist.”
Mr Todd added that he was “very pleased” with the turnout, which showed there were “a number of individuals who are keen to get back into the employment arena”.
Diallo Rabain, the acting Premier and Minister of Education, said that he was “extremely proud” to see different groups unite to create the jobs fair.
He added: “The hospitality realm is very important to Bermuda – it provide jobs for our Bermudians, so we’re hoping that Bermudians have come out and taken advantage of this opportunity.
“Events like this show that Bermudians can do the job and show that Bermudians are available to do the job in the hospitality industry.
“We look forward to these types of events being held on an annual basis.”