Some of the graduates.
CAY HILL–After six months of hard work, a total of 199 students graduated from St. Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) and received their certificates during a ceremony held at the Belair Community Centre on Friday evening.
Of the 199 students, 46 completed basic culinary training and 153 completed the Hospitality 360 course.
Culinary classes cover subjects such as purchasing, food quality, cooking techniques, cutting techniques, cleaning, etc.
In the Hospitality 360 course, students were introduced to public health, housekeeping, front desk, restaurant theory, bar theory and soft skills.
The students also had the opportunity to complete two certifications in the hospitality industry: the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) Customer Service Gold and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).
The AHLEI Customer Service Gold is an internationally recognised certificate. The course covers subjects such as how to be authentic in service delivery, how to pre-emptively read the customers’ needs long before they express them, and the importance of really delighting your customers. In addition to the AHLEI Customer Service Gold certificate, students also received a golden lapel that comes with this certification.
The HACCP certification is also known as the Food Handlers Certificate. HACCP is a systematic methodology to ensure that food is properly handled and processed. All food-service workers on the island are required by law to have this certificate. St. Maarten Training Foundation provides this certification free of charge to all culinary students enrolled in the programme.
SMTF Board President Keith Graham, Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and Head of the Dutch Representation Office in Philipsburg Chris Johnson were amongst those who delivered remarks at the ceremony.
The SMTF programme is part of the Emergency Income Support and Training Programme (EISTP) financed by the Dutch Government, managed by the World Bank and implemented by SMTF in cooperation with the Government of St. Maarten.
EISTP is the only social programme on the island that provides direct financial support to the participants. Enrolled students receive financial support (called a stipend) every two weeks for attending classes and successfully completing the programme as well as medical coverage and a small transportation allowance.
The programme caters to persons who are unemployed or underemployed and provides training in Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Construction. Recent additions to the programme include English as a Second Language (ESL) and St. Maarten History and Culture. Both additions are executed in collaboration with University of St. Martin (USM).
Persons wishing to participate in the EISTP programme are first vetted by the Labour Department. Criteria such as immigration status, level of unemployment and residency are used to determine eligibility. Once eligibility has been established by the Labour Department, the applicant is transferred to SMTF to complete the enrolment process.
Inscription for new classes will end on September 6. Interested persons should contact the Labour Department or call SMTF at tel. 520-7574 for more information.
SMTF is located at Hillside Christian Schools’ Asha Stevens Campus in Cay Hill.