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Fairmont training programmes open doors to world of possibilities

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Bermuda doesn't have to be a dead end for people entering the hospitality field; take the bull by the horns was the advice of on former Bermuda resident who has taken full advantage of the Fairmont hotel chain's management training programmes.

Cassius Feviere, former Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, now holds a similar position at Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland. The hotel chain's management training programme not only offers the chance for career growth, but also the opportunity to see the world.

“This hotel is in a great location, because it (seems) as though it is the in the middle of nowhere but it is five minutes away from the town of St Andrews, right on the border of it,” said Mr Feviere, who permanently transferred with his family in July 2012. “The setting is spectacular. The hotel has two golf courses. The town itself is a very historic town. It has an uncompleted church that is over 300 years old. It is also a university town.”

He said so far, the only thing he hasn't adapted to is the idea of wearing a kilt.

“The biggest eye-opener was the kilt,” he said. “I have tried it on a few times. I am daring myself to get one, but that will be the biggest adjustment.”

Mr Feviere's path through tourism has been slightly meandering. He is originally from St Lucia. He lived in the United States, came to Bermuda to work in the hotel industry, left and then returned. While living in Bermuda he left the hotel industry to realise a long held dream to become a police officer.

“I have been in the industry for about 24 years,” he said. “I took a break out of the industry to become a police officer. It was a childhood dream. I did it three years as active policeman and then became a reserve in St George. I was second in command of the Police Reserves in St George.”

But he quickly grew tired of chasing criminals and missed the hotel business. He turned in his Police Reserves badge only two days before he was transferred to Scotland.

He said he was initially drawn to the hotel industry as a young boy, because he had friends and family members in St Lucia who were employed in the business.

“I said my family has gone into, why not follow in their footsteps,” he said. “When I got involved, I developed a love of meeting people and different cultures. The industry gave me the opportunity to travel.”

He first came to Bermuda in 1996 to work with the Marriott Castle Harbour Hotel. He took a management course and later transferred to the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia.

After three years an opportunity arose to return to Bermuda to work in the Heritage Court Lounge at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

Over the years Mr Feviere has done numerous courses with the Fairmont including some affiliated with Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

“Young Bermudians in the industry need to grab the bull the by the horns,” he said. “They need to know that these opportunities exist and they should take advantage of them.”

Bermudian Jecoa Tucker, 27, has also been able to travel through the Fairmont hotel group.

“Travel has always been a big part of my idea career path,” said Mr Tucker who was posted to the Fairmont Dubai property in downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates in January. “It is good to experience different cultures and see what else Dubai has.”

Mr Tucker is Housekeeping Supervisor at the hotel in Dubai. He admitted he has not yet gotten on a camel, despite their prevalence in the region.

He said it is quite different from his previous post at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

“The Hamilton Princess is a resort, and the property I am working at is more of a business hotel,” said Mr Tucker. “The clientele is different, and the diversity of people at the hotel is also different. We see a lot of nationalities here that you don't see often in Bermuda. It has been interesting being able to interact with different cultures.”

He said living in an Islamic country for the first time meant there were a lot of regulations he had to respect.

“If I was to go to an elevator, and see that there is an Arabic lady in there and she is covered up, I wouldn't go in that elevator with her. One of the big things is that during Ramadan Muslims fast through the day and eat at night. We have a cafeteria here like most hotels. When I first arrived, I went in and all the Muslims were in this one area. They were waiting for the time when they could eat. I picked up a plate and went right up to the food stand and I was stuffing my face and everyone was looking at me and I couldn't understand why. One person got up and said you can't eat right now. It was embarrassing.”

Despite the cultural adjustments, he is enjoying his job and would like to stay in Dubai for another year.

“I would like to stay either at this property or maybe another property,” Mr Tucker said. “There is a new hotel opened up on the man made island in Dubai. It is a breakfast hotel that is affiliated with the Fairmont. Hopefully, I will be able to transfer to one of those properties to gain more experience and see what it is like. I would also like to take the opportunity to go to another country and continue.”

Mr Tucker said he was completely surprised to learn that the Fairmont had a leadership development programme that made it possible to transfer to other countries and Fairmont hotels.

“Once I learned about it, I was thrilled,” he said.

He, has a Bachelor of Science degree in hotel management and an Associate of Science in tourism from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. After graduating from university he spent he spent 18 months in Bermuda going through the ranks of the Fairmont leadership development programme designed to put university graduates on a track to become executive-level managers within five years and hotel general managers within ten years.

“I was thrilled at the opportunity,” he said. “It is one thing to work in a hotel, but having the opportunity to travel and move around and gain more experience in the brand is something else. It is phenomenal. What was good for me, was that even after I graduated from the programme, they were still pushing me to grow in my career.”

Cassius Feviere with kilted Scottish friend.
Jecoa Tucker, 27, in Dubai.
Jecoa Tucker, 27, in Dubai
Jecoa Tucker, 27, in Dubai

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Published November 27, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm)

Fairmont training programmes open doors to world of possibilities

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