Increasing numbers of high school students are participating in tourism industry-related certification programs, which are being piloted in several schools as spart of an initiative by the Ministry of Education and the Bahamas Hotel Association.
Thirty-nine students from the Government High School and Anatole Rodgers High School were the first to enroll in a new program launched this week to prepare them for jobs and careers in the safety and security field in the nation's hotels.
"The opportunities in this part of our industry are considerable, growing and projected to continue to grow, particularly with the new resorts being developed in New Providence. Roughly 4 per cent of people employed in the hotel industry are working in the safety and security field," said BHA president Stuart Bowe.
"We are excited to have been able to forge a partnership between members of the BHA Tourism Safety and Security Network (TSSN) and the principles of Anatole Rodgers, the Government High School, and Aquinas College to create a three-year certification program which will be taught after school twice a week by the leading security personnel in our industry."
Students who successfully complete the High School Certified Safety & Security Officer Program (SSOP) will find it much easier to secure employment in this part of the industry.
According to TSSN chairman Douglas Hanna, who is also senior vice-president for security at Kerzner International, the curriculum is built around a textbook for the industry globally called 'The Professional Protection Officer'.
"It covers a broad range of topics aimed at helping ensure the success of the young people as they enter our industry. A variety of teaching tools will be used to engage the students and help them understand the critical role they would play in ensuring our guests have a safe and memorable experience," Mr Hanna added.
The program's details were shared recently during a parent's meeting at the Government High School when principal Collin Johnson was joined by Anatole Rodgers High School principal, Myrtle McPhee, and representatives from BHA and the TSSN. The certification program is tied to the globally-recognised International Foundation for Protection Officers.
The BHA is also working with the Ministry of Education to develop certification programs in several other areas of the industry, in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Education Institute; Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscaping Association and the Bahamas Landscaping Association; the Coterie of Caribbean Butlers; and the Dermal Institute.
"When a young graduate with little or no work experience comes to industry seeking employment after high school, it is certificate programs like these which gives them a leg-up or a competitive advantage and helps them to land their first job. Their chances of transitioning from school-to-work and becoming a productive and valued part of our industry are enhanced considerably," said Mr Bowe.
Photo Caption L to R: Myrtle McPhee, principal, Anatol Rodgers Jr/Sr High School; Stuart Bowe, president, the Bahamas Hotel Association; Collin Johnson, principal, Government High School; H. Kevin Brown, chairperson , safety and security credentialing committee and member of the Tourism Safety & Security Network; Bridget Murray, credentialing committee cember and workforce development manager, the Bahamas Hotel Association; Lavern Dean, credentialing committee member and member of the Tourism Safety & Security Network; Philip Johnson, credentialing committee member and member of the Tourism Safety & Security Network. (Not in photo is Shona Knowles, principal - Aquinas College)
Published On:Monday, October 17, 2011