SLHTA Tourism In­tern­ship Pro­gram pick­ing up steam

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

With an an­nual tar­get of 2,000 young peo­ple, the Saint Lu­cia Ho­tel and Tourist As­so­ci­a­tion (SLHTA) Tourism In­tern­ship Pro­gram (TIP) 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.

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.

One of the in­terns of the SLHTA ini­tia­tive.

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