Government understands tourism will lead Barbados out of its current economic challenges, and as such, supports programmes which train and educate those in the industry.
This was emphasized today by Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, as he addressed the Certificate Ceremony for Virgin Holidays & the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Education Foundation’s second season of Training & Development Days’ programme, at the Island Inn Hotel, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.
Acknowledging that this initiative had the potential to help the country “to be the best we can be”, Minister Jordan commended the effort.
He said: “The programme leads workers to understand, to respect and to treat to the differences among people, and that is important because from a Ministry of Labour perspective, we have been trying to sensitize Barbadians, particularly Barbadian employers, to treat people like people, not like things, not like objects, not merely as factors of production, but treat people like people. This programme has as its underlying philosophy the understanding that we have to treat people like people, especially people who are different.”
The over 100 participants were lauded for staying the course and completing it to the extent that they were now deemed “Certified Ambassadors”.
Minister Jordan, noting that they needed to use the title to motivate themselves, said this was necessary, since they were the first to interact with tourists to sell their country, and it is an experience that encourages repeat visitor arrivals.
“When you do that Barbados benefits and Virgin Holidays…. It is a win-win,” he said, praising the partnership for recognizing the role of training and professional development.
Adding that the training of people was “absolutely critical to the sustainable development of the country”, the Labour Minister said: “We…ought to invest in the resource that will drive economic growth and development…. We have to invest in our people, and so it is critical that there is training and development for the people of our country, but particularly for the people who form the bedrock of the industry that drives the economy of the country.”
President of the CHTA, Patricia Dass, speaking on behalf of the CHTA’s Education Foundation, pointed out that for more than 30 years that organization had been “committed to education and training programmes and professional development of current and future industry professionals and personnel in the region’s hospitality and tourism industry”.
Adding that it was the largest hospitality charitable programme in the region, having raised and distributed more than $2.5 million in the last 10 years alone, Mrs. Dass acknowledged that over the years, more than 400 Caribbean nationals had received scholarships through the foundation.
She said for the last year nearly 400 persons had participated in training initiatives, many of whom were working across the region in management and leadership roles as a result of these opportunities.