Paid hospitality training for interested residents

PHILIPSBURG–The Ministries of Labour VSA and Tourism have partnered with the St. Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) to introduce a paid hospitality training programme for persons working in the tourism sector. The programme’s objective is to prevent mass layoffs in the hospitality industry.

“As long as the tourism sector does not (fully) recover, programmes need to be put in place which will help ensure the livelihood of persons. This project is one of the PIER [personal incentives for economic recovery – Ed.] programmes which provide cash for temporary employment, training or education to underemployed and unemployed persons.
“We commend the initiators of the project, which has presented a viable solution and opportunity for the vulnerable group of employees and employers. This is a true example of using a disaster as an opportunity to grow and become stronger,” stated Labour Minister Emil Lee on Thursday.

The subsidy granted allows this programme to be sustainable for another four months with the possibility to train 1,350 persons. Government is committed to sustain this project throughout the recovery process and has been working in close collaboration with the World Bank and the Netherlands to ensure the programme can be expanded once additional funding is made available.

“In exchange for work rendered or training undertaken, eligible individuals are provided with an income in the form of a stipend and keep their job in the hospitality sector. The cash-based approach not only encourages trade, production, and creates secondary economic benefits, but also allows people greater choice and control over how they will rebuild their lives, thus helping to restore their dignity as well as their livelihoods,” according to the Ministry.

“A successful St. Maarten always depends on its people. The success of our workforce in this training project will be a major factor in determining how well St. Maarten’s economy will rebound and its ability to compete with other countries in the region,” said acting Minister of Tourism Cornelius de Weever.

“It is a known reality that the majority of local business operations have been severely impacted. The hospitality industry of St. Maarten is a major employer, and many would conclude that the pillar of our economy has been significantly hit. An anticipated consequence of this is mass dismissals and business closures.

“Recognising the opportunity to train, upgrade and enhance the skills of workers (or previous) in the hospitality industry for the boost of the tourism product; the St. Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) consequently initiated a hospitality training geared towards enhanced hospitality skills,” stated the Ministry.
The project will be executed by the St. Maarten Training Foundation. For more information see the website or e-mail to . Further information on subscribing to the programme will be published by the Foundation.

Government will continue to seek, develop and support similar types of training opportunities for other sectors within the economy. It aims for a true recovery and building back better as a community.
“This project will improve our service product and our hospitality sector as a whole and create stability on the labour market. This also safeguards the livelihoods of the vulnerable groups; for instance, women, who aren’t easily mobilised into the construction industry,” stated Lee.

Source: The Daily Herald