Last year I wrote about Carl Broomes, a student of the Hospitality Institute, who was about to depart the island for an attachment in Disney World.
During the course of this week, while Broomes has been on holiday, he asked for permission to shadow me for a few days to get further insights into what goes on at the leadership level of business and particularly within the hospitality industry. I applauded the initiative being taken by this young man for wanting to learn at the feet of someone in leadership from within the industry.
Broomes has one more semester in order to complete his course of study towards his associate degree and is now at the point where he is trying to decide his next course of action that will lead him to a clear career path.
Needless to say, I was impressed by this type of approach but at the same time, it got me to thinking about others who have already travelled the path of study and are currently pursuing other courses of study within the tourism industry.
Recently I have been receiving quite a number of calls from other students studying at various institutions seeking placements for internships. Some students have expressed difficulty in obtaining attachments as companies were unable to accommodate them while at the same time keeping a tight lid on their permanent staff.
I have also had calls from others who have already completed their degree programmes and are now seeking permanent employment and unable to find any. These are the type of issues we need to address urgently in order to prevent disillusionment from engulfing those seeking a career in tourism.
I believe that we need the best possible employees at all levels in our tourism industry in order to support our country’s economic driver. I also believe that we cannot get the best possible people unless we can assist them with the opportunities to complete the courses of study they have chosen.
Likewise, we need to come up with a succession plan, which will ensure that those who pursue and complete a formal education in tourism get into the work force.
It seems to me like the principle of gaining on-the-job experience through a management trainee programme has also fallen by the wayside. Everyone wants tourism to perform as its optimum. Let me suggest that achieving this also requires action.
* Tourism is our business, let us play our part.