Covid-19 has had dire effects on the hospitality industry in Antigua & Barbuda with the closure of hotel properties and other businesses in 2020. However, with the reopening of most of these properties, the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI), was able to partner with them and other organizations, to accommodate a total of 59 student interns, 28 of whom were offered fulltime employment.
The students, who majored in the areas of hospitality management, resort management, tourism management, food and beverage management and culinary arts, expressed gratitude for the opportunity.
Ikitah Fergus, a former student chef, voiced her happiness at having been offered a job because of how well she performed while on internship.
“I am extremely elated that the supervisors saw my potential and decided to recommend me for a position. Being an intern was not easy at all, but I was able to put everything I learned at the ABHTI into practice and it worked out to my benefit. I was also able to and continue to learn so much from the chefs here,” she said.
Another student, who majored in hospitality management, commented on the excellent experience, while interning at one of the newest resorts to open on island. The student noted that the staff and management were very willing to train them in the various departments during the six-week internship.
“At first, I was very nervous, but the staff and management were very welcoming and willing to train us, as we went from department to department, during our time there. Even when mistakes were made, they were very understanding and treated us with such respect,” he noted. “I am very happy to have been offered a position, especially since it is so difficult to find a job these days. To be honest, I am happy that I did not have to go job hunting,” he added.
There were also students who, although they were not hired by the organization at which they interned, were able to secure job opportunities at other hospitality-based businesses. Nolanda Frederick, a former food and beverage management student was offered a position at one of the top restaurants on island, because of the experience gained while at the Institute and during internship.
“I am elated that the experience gained while studying at the ABHTI has proven to be of great benefit, since I was hired almost immediately after my internship,” she remarked.
Executive Director at the ABHTI Ruthlyn Matthias acknowledged that resorts were very willing to accommodate student interns and that she was very happy for those who were able to walk away from the experience with a full-time job.
“From the moment we contacted the relevant persons at the various properties, the response was very positive. In addition to that, the feedback received about students’ performances was very encouraging and a number of them were able to gain full-time employment, which we are very happy about,” Matthias said.
She expressed gratitude to the following organizations for partnering with the Institute to provide internship opportunities, as well as employment for our students: Carlisle Bay, Galley Bay, Hammock Cove, Jumby Bay Resort, Royalton, St. James’s Club & Villas, Pineapple Beach Resort, Sandals, The Noodle Bar, Liat and The Ministry of Information.
Matthias noted the Institute is committed to continue training students for excellence in hospitality and tourism.
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Congratulations to each graduate! This is great news.
Yes, volunteering and internships are a great way for young people to enter a new profession before they have had an opportunity to achieve any real work experience. By working without payment for a short period of time, they are earning invaluable real life work experience that will benefit them for the rest of their lives! This is a WIN/WIN for both sides of the arrangement.
Congrats to these new graduates! 😀
Wonderful news 🇦🇬👏
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