New hospitality workers ready to put their training to work
The first cohort of graduates from a new hospitality service training programme have officially been certified.
Fourteen trainees were handed certificates on Thursday for completing the Learn to Earn programme.
Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour, said a solid workforce in the hospitality industry was “vital”, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had forced people in the industry to leave the island as hotels and restaurants closed.
He added: “I salute the 14 participants who sought to elevate their credentials and widen their opportunities for employment by participating in and successfully completing the programme and obtaining various certifications in the hospitality industry.
“We are delighted to have forged this stakeholder partnership and networking opportunity, and acknowledge the important work placement contributions from the participating industry restaurant groups with whom the success of this programme was made possible.”
The Learn to Earn programme started as a partnership between the tourism standards and training divisions of the Bermuda Tourism Authority with the Department of Workforce Development and the Bermuda College.
Participants received training from several industry school specialists, including the American Hotel and Lodging Institute, The Federation of Dining Professionals and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
Trainees also took part in an eight-week paid rotation across several restaurant groups including the Yellowfin Group and Island Restaurant Group.
A BTA spokeswoman said that eight of the 14 trainees received either part-time or full-time employment from the programme.
Support will be offered to all trainees when job opportunities become available.
The Learn to Earn programme was launched after a 2018 study predicted a ten per cent drop in the hospitality workforce due to a lack of knowledge and an ageing workforce.
It started in January last year with the help of private restaurant and hospitality stakeholders and was known as the Food & Beverage Workforce Readiness Programme.
However, the programme was stalled that same March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tracy Berkeley, the chief administration officer of the BTA, said: “I am proud of the BTA’s tourism standards and training team, who worked together with our stakeholders to implement a solid, replicable programme for Bermuda’s aspiring hospitality professionals.”
She added: “Bermuda’s tourism visitor satisfaction metrics depend in large part on the customer service delivered across the hospitality industry.
“Ensuring that we can deliver service standards at the highest level as an island is a critical objective for us.