BHTA Receives International Award of Excellence for Education and Training Initiatives

Monday, 10 February 2014 18:59 News Editor
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The International Society of Hotel Association Executives (ISHAE) has awarded its 2013 Award of Excellence in Education and Training to the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association. The ISHAE Awards of Excellence were given out recently at the 27th annual ISHAE Winter Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.  BHTA joined six other associations who were recognized by ISHAE for their work in various areas.
“ISHAE is pleased to recognize this year’s award winners”, stated Christina Pappas, Executive Director of ISHAE.  “Their programs in these categories help set the standard for others internationally to follow.  There were a number of great entries in your category but The Bahamas program stood out to the judges” according to Pappas.

The depth and breadth of BHTA’s work caught the attention of the judges which recognized that BHTA has taken a ‘continuum approach’ to education and training.  The organization’s work has it engaged with education institutions at all levels and a number of training and developmental initiatives.

“This is a great team award, made possible by the dedication of our Executive, staff, volunteer Workforce Development Chairperson, our many volunteers, member companies, and the partner support we receive from  educators and team members at the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Tourism, and the College of The Bahamas” states BHTA President Stuart Bowe.

BHTA has exposed primary and secondary school students to the tourism industry and its opportunities through the organization’s Junior Hotelier program which has reached thousands of students over the past six years on New Providence and Grand Bahama.  Over 1,000 educators have participated in its weeklong summer educator internship program since 2004.  Tourism-related scholarships valued in excess of $420,000 have been awarded to over 100 young Bahamians in recent years, thanks to contributions from BHTA members.

The judges noted BHTA’s support for upgrading the hospitality curriculum in public schools and assisting with its introduction in several private schools and its work in support of career fairs and activities in the schools and workshops for guidance counselors.  Judges also reviewed the organization’s work in foreign language training with hundreds of employees having participated over the past three years in specially designed courses developed with COB and the Ministry of Tourism and through the introduction of LiveMocha/Rosetta Stone programs.

Also noted was the organization’s support in providing customer service training to the industry and promoting a number of post-secondary and certificate training programs offered by the American Hotel and Lodging Education Association, COB and colleges abroad.  The organization’s work in helping students and employees to develop culinary skills through competitions, training and apprenticeships was also recognized.

BHTA’s team accepted the ISHAE Award at its recent membership meeting.  Joining in the presentation were BHTA staff members Dominique Duncanson and Charlotte Knowles-Thompson; Workforce Development Coordinator Latasha Allen; Bridget Murray, former BHTA Workforce Development Manager and presently Director of Industry Training at the College of The Bahamas; BHTA President Stuart Bowe; Executive Vice President Frank Comito; and BHTA Past President Jeremy MacVean who was instrumental in establishing the organization’s education and training program over ten years ago.  BHTA volunteer Workforce Development Chairperson Beverly Saunders was unable to attend and has been a driving force in the organization’s work in this area.