139 members of the hospitality workforce in Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago have been certified in their respective positions, as part of the pilot field-test for CARIBCERT, the new regional tourism certification program developed by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB).
The main objective of the pilot testing, which started in May 2002, was to test the components of the system and identify changes that would be required for its full implementation. Over 3,000 volunteer hours were contributed by industry professionals during this process. “We can proudly say that these programs have been truly built by the Caribbean hospitality industry for the Caribbean hospitality industry,” said Alex Titcombe, director of product development and operations for CHA.
CARIBCERT covers a job and task analysis of 45 hotel positions in the Caribbean, and the system to certify people in any one of the positions. The system is based on standards that describe the skills and knowledge people in an occupation need to know, in order to provide superior service, while providing recognition for the skills and knowledge that they already possess. The system also identifies the skills and knowledge required to reach the next level, by training or further education. A person can be certified when he or she has demonstrated the skills described in the standards for the position. “Having a CARIBCERT certification means a person has demonstrated the knowledge and professionalism that employers need and value,” added Titcombe.
For the formal launch of CARIBCERT, CHA will provide registration and certification at no cost to the first 1500 candidates, from the following countries: Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Although the program will initially be implemented in the island nations listed above, in consideration of funding specifications by the IDB / MIF, CHA will be in a position to expand and implement the program region-wide upon the conclusion of the initial implementation phase. In anticipation of that, several Caribbean nations outside the immediate program group have already expressed interest, such as the Dominican Republic and St. Martin.