(JIS) THE Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) has expanded its Team Jamaica programme to make it more accessible and attractive to industry stakeholders.
Team Jamaica is a mandatory training and certification programme for persons employed in or otherwise associated with the hospitality and tourism industry.
The programme’s main components include customer service, product knowledge, cultural and environmental awareness.
In a bid to increase accessibility, the TPDCo has, since February, collaborated with individuals classified as approved training partners (ATPs) to assist in the continued training of industry personnel.
While noting that the programme is being conducted solely by TPDCo’s training department, Executive Director Dr Andrew Spencer said the partnership allowed the ATPs to participate in a ‘train the trainers’ programme.
This has resulted in their being certified to deliver the programme on TPDCo’s behalf, he said during a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank at the agency’s head office in Kingston on Tuesday, August 29.
There are currently 20 ATPs operating in the island’s resort areas. Seven are based in Kingston, one on the south coast, four in Ocho Rios, six in Montego Bay, and two in Negril
Dr Spencer said come 2018, TPDCo will be engaging HEART Trust/NTA and several hotels to become certified trainers and deliver the programme at their entities and institutions.
Additionally, he said TPDCo will shortly introduce levels two and three of the Team Jamaica programme, which are the advanced components of its current offering.
“Right now, we only have one level, which is providing basic information about the tourism industry, ensuring that individuals are aware of the history of the development of the industry. So for levels two and three, we plan to get into greater depth,” the executive director explained.
Additionally, he said the advanced levels will allow persons to become more adept at their jobs and provide an avenue for individuals to matriculate at the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation.
The centre aims to create a certified workforce based on academic skills and competence.
It will serve to accelerate the transformation of tourism enterprises by engaging institutions and persons to initiate new ideas as well as harness science and technology to transfer knowledge into practice within the sector.
The facility will offer a practical curriculum that complements existing hospitality programmes at several tertiary institutions.
Its programmes will target aspiring supervisors, managers, and other hospitality professionals in areas such as culinary, spa, and hospitality management.
Team Jamaica has evolved since its inception in 1997 and is now a benchmark for tourism-awareness programmes within the Caribbean.
Dr Spencer noted that the programme is quite beneficial to the workers, sector, and country on the whole, in the creation of a well-trained workforce that attracts investments while increasing skilllevels, economic growth and prosperity.