The Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and the College of The Bahamas (COB) have partnered to create short-term certificate courses aimed at preparing Bahamians for the thousands of job opportunities expected to arise from the multi-billion dollar Baha Mar project.
Education and tourism officials predict that as many as 5,400 new job opportunities will be created – directly or indirectly as a result of the mega luxury project.
During a news conference Wednesday to announce the programme COB President Dr. Betsy Vogel-Boze said that the college will begin offering the short-term skill courses at the end of next month.
“The first two courses in the series will focus on the food and beverage areas where industry anticipates the greatest need exists for fulfilling entry-level positions,” Dr. Vogel-Boze said. “These include a course on basic culinary skills and a second course on banqueting – waiter and waitress training.
“Each course includes 60 hours of subject matter training and an additional 25 hours to 30 hours, which will be spent on training in the essential foundational areas of customer service, ethics, workplace etiquette and food safety. Students will also be provided with a four-week internship to expose them to the realities of the work environment.”
The COB president said officials hope that the people who successfully complete the courses will well-positioned to enter in to the industry.
“This is really designed to meet the need for entry-level positions, so the recent high school graduate, the school leaver, the person who is unemployed or underemployed this is a way to in 10 weeks be career-ready, job-ready and to get into the hospitality industry,” she said.
“We’ve made every effort to design the courses as affordable as possible they will be around $500 per course.”
BHA President Stuart Bowe said while the Baha Mar project serves as an impetus for this programme, it is widely expected that a cross-sector of jobs will be available as a result of people leaving their current positions to take on employment at Baha Mar; therefore, he said, in a short time there will be an explosion of employment opportunities.
“Vacancies would be come available throughout The Bahamas, in all sectors – hotels, restaurants, banking, accounting, retailing, government, etc – as people move from those sectors to assume positions with Baha Mar, “ he said.
“In essence, we recognised that this would create a huge skills-gap and back-fill needs which could be minimised if we put in place programmes to educate, train and prepare our people for the new opportunities.”
Additional courses are being developed and are expected to be added to the programme by early next year.
COB and its partners also plan to run a number of courses concurrently throughout next year and in late 2013 and early 2014 officials expect to add even more courses.
Registration forms can be collected at COB’s Continuing Education Programme on Moss Road or at the school’s website.
The deadline for applications is October 22.
The new courses are scheduled to start on October 29.