SLHTA Apprenticeship Programme is Picking up Steam

richna josephWith an annual target of 2000 young people the SLHTA Apprenticeship Programme is picking up Steam.

The initiative, which comes in partnership with the Government of Saint Lucia, has so far trained over 200 people and targets unemployed youth from across the country and exposes them to the hospitality sector. The youth are given the opportunity to explore and receive invaluable training in the many professional avenues available in the tourism industry.

Chefs, Services Attendants, Engineering and Finance and even Food and Beverage are among the key areas being taught. Funding for the program comes from the highly successful Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), which is now in its second year.

Executive Vice President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourist Association Noorani Azeez said the TEF is certainly beginning to have a considerable impact on the human resource development of Saint Lucia.

“I’m really glad to see that the tourism enhancement fund only in its second year is beginning to have such an impact. A number of our young people are still very unaware of the myriad of opportunity that exists in the tourism sector,” Azeez said.

He pointed out that the Tourism Internship Program not only provides valuable first hand experience for young people into the inner workings of the tourism sector, but it also creates for a greater appreciation on the part of the youth for the country’s largest economic driver.

“What this program does is give them valuable first hand experience about our leading economic sector. The hotel sector is in dire need of a number of skills that the country does not have, and if we can address this skills shortage problem then we can help to alleviate the frightening unemployment rate.

“We have much to celebrate and hope for from the future of the Tourism Internship Program,” Azeez said.

He added that the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourist Association was also pleased to have the support of the Government of Saint Lucia, which has clearly embraced the need for training and providing opportunities for young people in the industry.

“The SLHTA is pleased that the government of Saint Lucia strongly appreciates the need for training our young people to optimize the opportunities in the tourism sector. It is through pubic and private sector partnerships that we will solve the many challenges confronting us as a country today,” said the SLHTA Executive Vice President.

A number of large, medium and small hotels from across Saint Lucia – in addition to the SLHTA allied members, have partnered with the SLHTA and the Government of Saint Lucia on this life-altering initiative.

The TIP follows a series of Tourism Enhancement Fund backed projects that include afterschool programs, the reconstruction of a culinary arts room, the beautification of Rodney bay and other initiatives.

With such a prolific start, the Fund’s impact on the Human Resource of Saint Lucia can only make a big dent into the apparent disconnect between tourism skills and jobs.

TEF Sponsors NRDF Independence Cake Challenge

SLHTA/NRDF 2015 Cake Champion

National Research Development Foundation (NRDF) a nonprofit organization, along with Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) hosted its first “Independence Cake Challenge” on February 20th and 21st, as part of Independence 2015 activities, and under the esteemed patronage of the Honourable Prime Minister.

The event was officially launched at the Bay Gardens Hotel in Rodney Bay.

A cadre of six (6) competitors some coming from as far as Vieux Fort and Soufriere have been charged with the task of baking and then decorating an “Independence” themed cake, to serve 100 persons, within 6 hours.

The baking and decorating challenge will showcase pastry chefs from some of St Lucia’s best hotels and past Students of the NRDF’s cake decorating courses, as a start to what is intended to be an annual feature on the Independence calendar. SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund, the Title Sponsor, no newcomer to such events has been promoting the importance of Education and Tourism through various public awareness programmes and so it was a piece of cake for them to respond enthusiastically to collaborating with NRDF on this venture.

Hon Dr Kenny D Anthony, Prime Minister has put his stamp of approval on the event, as the patron and the winning cake will have the honour of being showcased at the Prime Minister’s Annual Independence Cocktail.

The challengers will be proving their skill and creativity to three judges and an audience comprising cake enthusiasts and other specially invited guests. Mr Ronald Charles, NRDF General Manager, says however, that the event is underpinned by a greater purpose.

He said, “the Cake Challenge is more than just a fun competition. It is in fact a far-reaching message couched in sweet artistry, as the NRDF and its partners collaborate on promoting the idea of transforming hobbies into trades, thereby creating sustainable livelihoods, whether cake, leather work, handmade bags and so on.”

 

The Competitors

o Ronald Estephane – Junior Pastry Chef, Coconut Bay Resort and Spa (2015 Winner)
o Davis Hippolyte – Junior Pastry Chef, Capella at Marigot Bay
o Susan Charlery – Junior Pastry Chef, Sugar Beach a Viceroy Resort
o Celine Stephen – Past NRDF Cake Décor student
o Albertha Nelson – Past NRDF Cake Décor student
o Talisa Decembre – Past NRDF Cake Décor Student

 

The following prizes were up for grabs:

  • 1st Prize
    o All expenses paid Internship at Johnson and Wales University Culinary Institute (Miami campus)
    o Showcased at the Prime Minister’s official annual Independence Cocktail
    • 2nd Prize
    o Internship at Jade Mountain St Lucia, to be taught by Jade’s pastry team lead by the Chief Judge himself, Chef Wouter Tjeertes
    • 3rd Prize
    o Cake Mixer

The esteemed panel of judges is:

  • Chef Wouter Tjeertes, Director of Pastry at Jade Mountain St Lucia
    • Chef Sherma Peter, Pastry Chef at Jade Mountain St Lucia and National Pastry Chef Champion
    • Sen Berthia Parle MBE, General Manager of Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa

Sponsors

  • Patron – Hon Kenny D Anthony, Prime Minister of St Lucia
    • Title Sponsor – SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF)
    • Presenting Sponsors – Johnson and Wales University; Anse Chastanet & Jade Mountain
    • TV sponsor – Calabash TV
    • Gold sponsors – Baron Foods Ltd, Easter Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC), Anchor Butter
    • Silver sponsors – Ministry of Youth Development and Sports; Pine Hill, Courts
    • Bronze sponsors – CFL Ltd/Mega J’s, Travel and Leisure Centre
    • Other sponsors – FICS Ltd, 1st National Bank, Sunshine Snacks, Savvy Caribbean Marketing, Sofia’s Cake Décor Store

Saint Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association provides aid via Ministry of Social Transformation

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government & Community Empowerment, Ms. Juliana Alfred collected hampers for thirty (30) deserving families on Monday January 19, 2014.

The hampers materialized through the Tourism Enhancement Fund of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA). The benefactors have been identified as vulnerable through their enrollment in government’s Public Assistance Programme administered by the Ministry of Social Transformation.

SLHTA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Noorani Azeez who handed over the supplies, noted that this commitment forms part of his organization’s ongoing community outreach initiatives.

“We are indeed elated to partner again with the SLHTA in our thrust towards community empowerment. This is the second time in recent months that the Ministry of Social Transformation has benefitted from the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund- we have previously received their support with our Community After-School Programme,” Permanent Secretary Ms. Juliana Alfred noted; ” The SLHTA provided approximately $70,000 to assist the CASP in 2014″.

The Public Assistance Programme is a means tested initiative that provides cash benefits to qualifying individuals/households. This poverty alleviation mechanism provides support to approximately 2500 families annually.

Community After School Programme Inspires SLHTA Executive

Ministry of Social Transformation hosts CASP site visit for sponsors.

 

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Castries, Saint Lucia. January 22, 2014: Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government & Community Empowerment, Ms. Juliana Alfred and Executive Vice President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, Mr. Noorani Azeez participated in a tour of two Community After School Programme (CASP) centres in the Castries basin on Tuesday January 20, 2015.

The touring party visited the Faux-a-Chaux and Ciceron CASP Centres. SLHTA Executive Vice President, Mr. Noorani Azeez engaged facilitators and students in discussion about their experiences, while pointedly inviting suggestions for the programme’s development. Mr. Azeez noted his intention to advocate on behalf of the CASP, in pooling resources to ensure its sustainability.

Participants of the Faux-a-Chaux CASP put on a brief performance for the visitors, likewise the Ciceron CASP participants demonstrated their skill in elocution and dance. Centre Supervisor Mrs. Clara Paul noted some praiseworthy achievements of the programme, citing promising feedback from school teachers on improvements in the performance, attitude and deportment of CASP students.

“When children are involved in programs like these that allow them to feel more special in the grand scheme of things, it propels them to aspire to more,” Mr. Azeez noted. “I have been inspired by this experience, and look forward to sharing it with the rest of the SLHTA, so that we can create more synergies with the private sector to support this initiative.”

Mr. Noorani Azeez encouraged the students to gather and share everything they learn with their families and friends, making the assertion that the success of the CASP is determined by how students apply the knowledge acquired through the programme.

To date, the SLHTA has supported the CASP through the provision of funding in the amount of EC$70,000.00 to ensure the continued operation of this extremely beneficial service to youth in vulnerable communities. Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment, Ms. Juliana Alfred expressed gratitude to the SLHTA for its invaluable assistance to some of the country’s most impressionable citizens.

SLHTA Launches Its Apprenticeship and Skills Training for Employment Initiative

General Managers, and Human Resource Managers of hotels, Head of Training Institutions including SALCC, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, NSDC, CARE, gathered at the Bay Gardens Hotel on Wednesday 10th December 2014 for the launch of the SLHTA Apprenticeship and Skills Training for Employment Initiative.

This initiative is seeking to expose 1600 young people to training and employment opportunities in the hotel and tourism industry.

The programme will be jointly funded by the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association and the Ministry of Finance. The SLHTA will utilize funds from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) which was established in October 2013.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Mr. Sanovnik Destang gave an overview of the programme. He was particularly happy that this initiative was coming at a time when St Lucia hospitality industry was scoring a number of first places on the global scene, and the competition to remain at the top of the ratings was demanding on all sectors of the economy.

Mr Donovan Williams, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries who is also the Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees spoke of the unlimited possibilities which such a venture can create in the area of human resource particularly for young people.

The Executive Vice President of the SLHTA, Mr. Noorani Azeez emphasized that this is a private sector initiative and is not restricted only to the hotel sector but that businesses must wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity. He outlined the manner in which the programme will be rolled out, and pointed out that although the industry has made great strides, this in no way should cause us to become complacent but we should strive to raise the bar, which is what is hoped this initiative will provide.

Phase 2 of the programme is scheduled for January 10 2015.

Rodney Bay Marina Road Safety Enhancement Project

 

The SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund has committed funding to the tune of EC $250,000 towards construction of the Rodney Bay Marina Road Safety Enhancement Project along the Gros Islet Highway.

The project is a collaboration between the Sant Lucia Hotel Tourism Association (SLHTA) and the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport. Works on the Rodney Bay Marina Road Safety Enhancement Project commenced on Friday November 21st 2014 and expected to be completed on Friday December 5th 2014, just in time for the much anticipated 29th Annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

The IGY Rodney Bay Marina is a hub for visitors to the island and the enhancement works is in an effort to make the area safer for pedestrians.

Rodney Bay Marina is considered one of the Caribbean’s leading centers for yachting and sport fishing, Rodney Bay Marina offers yachters 253 slips and a 4.5 acre boatyard, as well as excellent accommodations for Mega-Yachts up to 285 feet with drafts of up to 14 feet – all in a well-protected hurricane-safe haven.  Onshore, the world-class property offers an excellent recreational area with a swimming pool as well as outstanding retail, restaurant and entertainment options.

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1st Anniversary of the Tourism Enhancement Fund

On Friday, October 10th 2014 the SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund celebrated its first year Anniversary with a luncheon at the L’epicure Restaurant at the Royal St. Lucian by Rex Resort. The luncheon commenced at 12: 30 p.m. and several TEF Hotel participants as well as Ministers of Government joined the SLHTA to celebrate.  The Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International Mr. Adam Stewart was the guest speaker and the Honorable Phillip J. Pierre, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport delivered remarks from the Government of Saint Lucia. The event was hosted under the theme “Responsible Tourism – The Way Forward for the Caribbean”.

The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) was launched in October 2013 and has raised well over $1.7 million dollars. This was made possible by an outpouring of support by several hotels and visitors to the island. The level of enthusiasm which accompanies the first year of operation for the TEF signals the significant contribution which tourism can make to the social fabric of St. Lucia. Thus far, several projects have been undertaken by the fund, mainly a commitment to renovate the culinary lab at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, two afterschool programs in impoverished communities, support for the sourcing of a new flight from Canada and the recent beautification of Rodney Bay and its surrounding areas.

The SLHTA Secretariat would like to express profound gratitude to all our member Hotels Properties who continue to participate and support this significant initiative.

Government Officials Praise Tourism Enhancement Fund Commitments

Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Robert Lewis has joined hands with other government officials in Tourism and Agriculture in offering gratitude to the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) for its generous contribution to strengthening St. Lucia’s tourism and social development landscape.

On Wednesday, the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA), the managers of the TEF, revealed plans of funding four large projects totaling more than EC$650,000. The TEF, which has been in operation for a little over ten months, has successfully raised over EC$1.35 million and has committed to providing monies to the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, the Ministry of Social Transformation, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the St. Lucia Tourist Board.

These initiatives are expected to have a positive impact on the islands Tourism sector while more importantly, improving the lives of members of the public. “I want to thank the SLHTA on behalf of the people of Castries south. I recognize the importance of the fund in meeting the needs of our people – the biggest resource we have. Without our people, tourism cannot thrive,” Hon. Dr. Robert Lewis, Minister of Education, Human Development and Labor stated at a press conference on August 6.

Permanent Secretary of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, Dr. Donavon Williams reiterated the Hon. Lewis’s sentiments. Also cited were the far-reaching economic and other benefits of the US$192,000 injected in a bid to secure added air-lift to the island from the Canadian market. Canada is viewed as a country where Saint Lucia can center its growth strategies, and the SLHTA’s commitment of TEF funding will undoubtedly foster this anchorage and facilitate the boost the island is looking for.

The country is still considered an untapped market. “A direct contribution towards an initiative of this nature will foster long term rewards for St. Lucia as a tourist destination,” Dr. William said. Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism also weighed in on the contributions. He said while his office has a “challenging budget” to work with, he was confident that the smart marketing strategies currently being employed coupled with the support of the SLHTA and the TEF, Saint Lucia’s tourism product has something to look forward to. Over 80 percent of hotel stay-over visitors are contributing to the Tourism Enhancement Fund, which has contributed over EC$1million to local development.

Tourism Enhancement Fund sponsors OECS Swimming Championship 2014

slhta sponsors slasaThe OECS Swimming Championship is just around the corner!

The event commences on Friday 7th November, with swimmers in the pool warming-ups from 3:30pm. Competition begins at 5pm with the 100m Freestyle swim for the 8&Under swimmers, which is followed by the 9 and older swimmers competing for glory in the 400m Free. Then there is a break at 6:30pm for the official opening Ceremony, that will include a March Past of all the Teams – Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgins Islands, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and go course, hosts Saint Lucia. Immediately after the Opening Ceremony is relay time, for an exciting close to the first day of competition.

The excitement continues throughout the week-end, with competition starting at 10am on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th November.

During Sunday’s training session with the OECS Swim Team, cheque presentations were made by two of the event sponsors. Sanovnik Destang presented a cheque from the SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund to the tune of EC $5000.00 to SLASA Vice-President, Robert Blanchard, under the watchful eye of OECS Head Coach, Brian Charles, while Eddie Hazell, Managing Director of West Indies Shipping and Trading Company Ltd. also presented his company’s contribution to SLASA Vice President Robert Blanchard, and Coach Brian Charles.

The team continues to train diligently throughout the course of this week in preparation for the event. Head Coach Brian Charles is confident that his team will be a force to be reckoned with this year, and his goal is clear – to have Team Saint Lucia declared the winning team of the OECS Championships for 2014. To date, Grenada has won the Championship 11 times while Saint Lucia has won 12 times, so competition is fierce, but with Antigua and St, Vincent now fielding full teams, it is no longer a battle between the two former champions as the other teams have been developing over the years, and now present some serious competition.

Tourism Enhancement Fund Donates to Trough Victims

 

10The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA), through its Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and support from its member companies is pleased to advise of the commitment of approximately one hundred thousand dollars worth of support to victims of the tragic 2013 Christmas Eve Trough.  With the kind support of Jade Mountain Resort, Serenity Vacations and Tours, Bay Gardens Resorts and Caribbean World Travel Services the TEF has funded infrastructural works, kitchen equipment, administrative, school and student supplies for the Canaries Infant School and its 80 students.

The TEF has also financed the provision of 100 food hampers to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) for wider distribution, in the hope of making the lives of these 9victims a bit more comfortable as they continue to adjust to the loss of homes and lives during the regrettable experience.  Through closer collaboration with the Ministry of Education, NEMO and other Civil Service Organizations, the SLHTA will continue to conduct such interventions over the coming months.

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