People Employment Programme interns showcase hospitality skills

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (May 1, 2013) — Training Coordinator with the People Employment Programme (PEP) Mrs Celia Christopher, and the programme’s Consultant Ms Telly Valerie Onu, found themselves in an unfamiliar situation recently when hospitality class students took control of the class. They were pleasantly surprised when they were asked to sit back and take notes as the students showcased what they had learnt.

The seventy-strong members of PEP’s Frigate Bay Resort hospitality class showed what they had learnt in the short time they have been under the tutelage of Mr Dominic Stevens and his fellow instructors, Mrs Joan Millard, Ms Leslean Roberts, and Mr Jason Morton, who had also taken the back seat to listen to the trainees as they made presentations.

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The students had reached a milestone where they were challenged by their instructors to showcase what they had learnt and Mrs Christopher and Ms Onu had been invited to witness the nicely attired students as they made presentations in the various areas of their training. The teachers and the visitors sat and keenly observed how the students made the presentations.

According to head instructor, Mr Dominic Stevens, the hospitality unit of the People Employment Programme, started on the 18th February, with life skills training conducted in different communities in St. Kitts, including the Newtown community, for a period of four weeks, after which they were transferred to their new base at the Frigate Bay Resort.

“We have been at the Frigate Bay Resort for over four weeks, and we are well on our way to smooth sailing,” said Mr Stevens. “Just two weeks ago we officially came out in uniform, where all our trainees decked out in their black and white looking so lovely.”

He explained that the instructors decided to give the students chance to showcase what they have learnt by demonstrating to their instructors, PEP officials and fellow students. They were divided into several groups and the instructors gave them the topics to present.

“Once the trainees come here with an open mind, correct attitude and willingness to learn, everything will go fine and they will learn a lot,” said Mr Stevens. “We are very happy for where we are now, but there is still a lot more to be done.”

The six-month course covers three main areas, namely: Customer Service and Food and Beverage that are taught by Mr Dominic Stevens and Ms Leslean Roberts; Kitchen, Food Preparation and Safety, taught by Mr Jason Morton; and Front Desk and Housekeeping, taught by Mrs Joan Millard.

“All the trainees here are being trained at a particular standard,” observed Mr Stevens. “The standard we are using is called the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ). At the end of the programme, those that have qualified and passed the course will be certified, and will be getting a certificate.”

The People Employment Programme has six components and according to Mrs Celia Christopher, the training coordinator, the hospitality class falls under Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (STED) component.

The other components are Engaging Qualified Interns Project (EQUIP), National Infrastructure Improvement Project (NIP), Agri-Enterprise Training and Management Project (ATM), Women in Construction Trade (WICT), and Women in Small Enterprise (WISE).

“What we finding is that most the people under the STED component are applying for hospitality,” said Mrs Christopher. “They want to do food and beverage, they want to do housekeeping and they want to do front desk operation.”

According to Mrs Christopher, they are satisfied that the training is going to assist not only those young persons who are enrolled in the hospitality class, but also the country in general.

“We are preparing for development, and we are going to have a lot of development over in the peninsula and most of it is tourism related,” she observed. “What we are trying to do is to be one step ahead of that development, so that by the time that development starts coming into fruition we will have a pool of persons that we can pull from and use them in the sector.”

She noted that the training they are undertaking will be certified using the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) standards, and a holder of such a certificate could land employment anywhere across the Caribbean if they so wish.

“This particular group has really set the standard for the groups in the People Employment Programme,” noted Mrs Christopher. “We are seeing some development in the training programme and we are very pleased as it is also addressing the spiritual aspect of things, because they are having morning devotions that are led by the students themselves.”

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