Yele Haiti and HVS Launch Final Phase of Jacmel Hospitality Training Project

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Above: students in the HEAT programme

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Yele Haiti foundation, in partnership with HVS, a leading global hospitality consulting firm, has launched the final phase of its project to train 120 Haitian students in hospitality and tourism.

The Hospitality Education and Training Programme (HEAT), which is supported by the Haitian Ministry of Tourism and funded by Yele Haiti, was launched in September 2011.

For the past four months, international instructors have worked alongside Haitian teachers to implement a full-service hospitality curriculum including customer service, housekeeping, front desk and food and beverage operations.

“Vocational training is the primary initiative for Yele Haiti in 2012,” said Derek Johnson, CEO of Yele Haiti. “HEAT has been designed to expose students with an in-depth knowledge as to how hotels work. This training enables them to be better prepared for understanding what high-level customer service means and enter the industry with some experience.”

In February, students got a visit from sommelier David Grant from Vincor Canada, the largest producer and marketer of wine in Canada, to learn about the art of wine.

That culminated in the first student-run initiative, with students handling every aspect of an evening, including menu planning, food preparation, serving and sales and marketing.

Over the next two months, students will run their own events focusing on specific hotel departments. Those who complete the programme will be prepared for entry into the hospitality and tourism job market.

“The programme provides much-needed job training in Haiti — vital for the country’s rebuilding — while significantly improving service standards in a growing tourist destination like Jacmel.”

Jacmel is the highlight of a new push to grow the tourism market in Haiti, which finished 2011 with 763 hotel rooms in the development pipeline, according to STR.