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Valedictorian Sanjay Watson expresses gratitude to the Sandals South Coast team for affording him and his batchmates the opportunity to participate in the company’s hospitality training programme.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS - HTP graduate and Sandals South Coast new hire Jodian Beckford accepts the award for most outstanding female trainee from Hotel Manager Matthew Cornall during the graduation ceremony for hospitality trainees recently held at the resort.

Sandals trained and employed!

South Coast hospitality training programme provides free training, jobs for youth in the west

Last week, 24 young people successfully completed a six-week hospitality training programme (HTP) offered by Sandals South Coast.

The participants, some of whom have never worked in the hospitality industry, were exposed to the operations of several departments within the hotel. These departments included housekeeping, food and beverage, entertainment, human resources, watersports, front desk, accounts, and revenue.

At the end of the programme, each graduate was presented with a certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation.

During the graduation ceremony, training and development manager Lennox Lawrence lauded the group for its commitment to the programme as well as the value it brought to the team.

General Manager Adrian Whitehead also commended the group for persevering to the end, reminding persons that their completion of the programme was just the beginning. He encouraged the graduates to not sit still with the knowledge they had gained, but to use it as a stepping stone and consistently seek ways to build on their skills and expand their knowledge.

Of the 24 participants in the graduating batch, the first for 2017, at least eight have already been confirmed in positions at the luxury-included resort.

Among those already employed is 19-year-old Sanjay Watson, who also received the award for most outstanding male trainee and who was named valedictorian.

Watson, who will be working in restaurant services at the resort, said that he entered the training programme with the intention of shining and exceeding expectations. "I came here with one goal in mind, and that was to get the job."

He added that he knew it wouldn't be easy because Sandals looked for the very best, "so I knew I'd have to work hard and gather as much as I could".

SANDALS INVESTING IN PEOPLE

Prior to entering the HTP, Watson worked at a call centre in Montego Bay but was never able to save enough money towards furthering his education, which is currently his main goal. "Sandals is a phenomenal company that actively invests in people's development, and for someone like me who wants to advance my career and grow as an individual, it is ideal. I'm excited about what the future holds."

For 22-year-old Jodian Beckford from Haughton, St Elizabeth, it was the desire to provide a better life for her young son that drove her to apply for the Sandals initiative.

"I'm really thankful for Sandals and for this opportunity," said Beckford, who has been placed in the resort's housekeeping department. "I've never worked anywhere before. I was actually helping my mother in her cook shop in Haughton for the past several years, but lately, the cook shop wasn't making much money, and as a single mother, I needed a proper job that could help me to better care for my son."

The HTP was initiated in 2006 by the resort chain. Since its inception, the programme has benefited thousands of young people from the communities and countries in which Sandals operates. 

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