Minister Johnson congratulates HFTE participants on their achievements in preparing them for the hospitality sector | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Recently the Hospitality First Training plus Education (HFTE) Academy, gave out more than 450 certificates to students who have completed parts of the school’s hospitality programme.

Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Hon. Stuart Johnson would like to congratulate those who have received certificates from HFTE to date that will assists them in their current careers or prepare them for the job market.

One of the main certificates is the Customer Service Gold certificate which is administered in cooperation with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).

149 students received the aforementioned certificate and a golden lapel pin that comes with the certification.

Another main certificate at the Academy is Hospitality 360 which is a six-month course where the student is educated about the main hotel departments. 

Approximately 250 students completed various specialty courses with the main specialties during this cycle being Restaurant, Bar, Housekeeping and Front Desk.

Those who attend the classes according to HFTE are unemployed or underemployed.

“Our tourism sector is in recovery mode.  Tourism is a growth industry and is a 21st-century global economy.  Everybody is tapping into the tourism and travel trade.  Our country has several decades of experience behind us, however, the September 2017 hurricanes pushed us backward, but we are on the road to recovery.

“A recovering tourism-based economy requires that we have a skilled and qualified hospitality workforce in order for us to be able to compete in this 21-century global tourism economy.

“We need professionals at every level in order to provide that unique visitor experience that every traveler is looking for.  If you have the opportunity to upgrade your skills, the HFTE programme provides that and I am pleased to hear about the successes.

“Tourism is a vital component of our economic recovery as a country. Each one of the participants in the programme will be playing a very important role in that continued recovery.  What you have accomplished signals the fact that you are prepared and ready to embark on another level of your upward journey.

“This Government based on its Governing Program is committed to the development of tourism which will continue to play a pivotal role in driving our economic recovery and transformation,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Thursday.

HFTE programs are a central part of the Emergency Income Support and Training Project financed through the World Bank.

Enrolled students receive financial support (a stipend) for attending classes and successfully completing the programme as well as a small transportation allowance.

Hospitality classes are given at the Hillside Christian School Asha Stevens Campus and culinary classes are taught at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA).

The courses are given six days per week from 3.00pm to 9.00pm and on Saturday from 9.00am to 3.30pm.

Source: Souliga Newsday