Basseterre, St. Kitts — All the 19 People Employment Programme (PEP) students who undertook a ten-month Hospitality and Culinary Arts certificate course at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College have not only passed, but all have secured full time employment.
Making the announcement on Friday evening (June 6) was PEP Project Manager Mr Geoffrey Hanley at the graduation ceremony that was held at the college’s Nathaniel-John Hospitality Service Centre and attended by Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Dr Earl Asim Martin, and the Federal Minister with responsibility for PEP, the Hon Glenn Phillip.
“It is indeed a proud moment for us at the People Employment Programme Secretariat; proud because we are celebrating the success of 19 PEP participants in the hospitality training,” said Mr Hanley. “Proud, because we are celebrating the completion of some seven months of intensive training.
“But proud because all of the graduands this evening, have already been placed in permanent positions whether in hotel industry, restaurants and other areas of the hospitality sector. Indeed this is a commendable achievement. Proud because we are happy to have partnered with the CFBC and at this time I pause to recognise the contribution of (facilitators) Ms Marsha Bassue and Mr Peter Marshall.”
The trainees who did well to make Mr Geoffrey Hanley the proud man he was were Melissa Lewis, the valedictorian and along with Cheroma Browne, who were the only ones who passed with honours. Receiving certificates were Nydia Benjamin, Kitoya Berkely, Perouska Mikeisha Clarke, Krystal David, Viesha David, and Joleen Duncan.
Other members of the graduating class that made Mr Geoffrey Hanley proud were Nicole Hendricks, Genise Herbert, Janice Lake, Desiree Matthew, Kenesha Matthew, Keemer Walter, Dikisha Wattley, Kenesha Wattley, Denise Williams, Jannell Williams, and Natasha Willock.
“We at the PEP we look forward to hearing positive things from you as you go into your various areas and I urge you to be the best at whatever area you are placed,” advised Mr Hanley. “Your country is looking at you and you need to be that difference in the hospitality industry.
“Proud tonight because at this event it is the beginning of a new chapter in each and every one of the graduands’ life and it is building very strong bonds with the PEP and the CFBC. PEP is indeed a blessing and this blessing will continue with your positive impact that you will be making in the hospitality sector.”
The students were under the tutelage of the Director of the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Division at the CFBC Ms Marsha Bassue, and lecturer in the same division, Mr Peter Marshall for a period of seven months from June last year, and went on a three-month internship at various hospitality outlets in St. Kitts.
The CFBC offers two programmes in Food and Beverage service and Culinary Arts at an associate degree level. But when they were presented with the People Employment Programme students who were to graduate at certificate level, Ms Bassue said that they had to do something special to accommodate them.
“We decided to make it a unique programme for this particular set up PEP students, so we merged the Hospitality Food and Beverage service along with the Culinary Arts,” explained Ms Bassue. “The students were able to graduate with double skills.
“They will be more than ready for the workplace and more competitive because they have both skills, they can work front of the house and they can work back of the house.”
They were all able to get employment in the hospitality sector because as Ms Bassue explained, “The attachment provided that opportunity for employers to see the skills that they developed for the seven months that we had them here and they (students) excelled.”
Ms Melissa Lewis who graduated at the top of the class was attached to the Carambolla Restaurant for the internship, but she says that when the Royal St. Kitts Marriott Resort needed someone, they approached Ms Bassue and Mr Marshall and the two without hesitation recommended her.
After graduating from the then Sandy Point (now Charles E. Mills) High School, she explains that she was at home sitting down, doing nothing. When the People Employment Programme offered her a chance to train, she went for hospitality/culinary arts because she has a passion for baking and used it as an opportunity to further her ambitions.
“I now have a full time job working in the pastry kitchen at the Royal St. Kitts Marriott Resort,” said Ms Lewis. “I love the job as I have a passion for baking, so that is where I want to be.
“PEP is a great opportunity for everyone. It has given me another chance in life and I would just like to say PEP is blessing… it really is.”