The Hospitality Institute of the Barbados Community College is to undergo a shake-up starting next semester.
Director of the Hospitality Institute Jennifer Barrow told Barbados TODAY that officials have decided to ramp up efforts to get full occupancy all year round at the 22-bedroom PomMarine hotel.
In addition, she said plans were still on the cards to introduce a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Culinary Arts at the institute.
“This institute has been well established. It has a strong foundation from the former director and [it is] for us now to just move it forward to the next level,” said Barrow.
“Our next level means we will introduce the Bachelors in Culinary Arts. Our next level [also] means we will be using more of the technology in terms of blended teaching so that we can allow more people to gain access to what we have to offer. It is limited because of the size of the facilities, but with use of the technology you can open up to many more people. So that is what we are looking at,” she told Barbados TODAY in a recent interview.
The introduction of a Bachelor of Arts programme was first promised in 2015 by ex-director Bernice Crichlow-Earle, who said then that officials were seeking to introduce the programme in 2016 due to the overwhelming interest from applicants.
Every year, the Hospitality Institute gets in excess of 500 applications for its culinary programme, but only has room for a maximum of 80 students though the ideal number is about 60.
Barrow told Barbados TODAY that plans were also on the cards to better utilize the two restaurants as a business and keep the hotel full.
“We are looking to reignite the interest in the restaurants as a business as well as the hotel, because I have discovered a number of people living in Barbados weren’t aware that the hotel is open to them. We do staycations. So, it is not just for people coming from abroad and it is not just for business travellers. It is also for leisure travellers,” she pointed out.
The location is also used for various functions ranging from weddings to receptions and other parties.
She said the occupancy level in the hotel “fluctuates quite a bit”, and when students go on recess, the occupancy level is usually at its lowest. However, she said all that would soon change.
“That is why we have now started to work with bookings.com because the aim is to make sure… (yes, we know it is a training hotel) but by the same token, it is a full-fledged business and therefore, we are looking to operate it as such, meaning higher and more consistent occupancy levels. That is where we are moving to… We are looking to keep the hotel going right through,” she said.
Barrow said as far as she was aware, the local economic climate had not impacted the performance of either the institute or the hotel.
Beginning next semester, the Hospitality Institute will be entering a partnership with rum producer R.L. Seale & Company in an effort to give students an opportunity to learn more about rum and how to better incorporate it into their mixtures.
“It is going to give students a new perspective, not just rum and rum mixtures, but what else you can do with rum, and how the rum is made,” said Barrow, adding that the partnership with the rum company would help students to be more innovative.
“So, this is information that students, when they are doing their bar operations and they are looking to make their cocktails, this knowledge is important. They will do both practical and theory,” she added. (MM)