Formal qualifications could lift prestige of tourism jobs - Bartlett
Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has expressed the view that the availability of higher learning in the field of tourism could raise the esteem of the workforce in the sector.
"My view is that while formal qualifications are not always required in tourism, their existence, and a widely available opportunity to obtain qualifications and competency development in tourism, may contribute to raising the prestige of the occupation and the sector in general," posited Bartlett.
He was speaking at the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the University of the West Indies Mona Western Campus at Barnett Estate in Montego Bay, St James.
Bartlett added that: "A robust institutional framework is needed to determine the education and training policies and programmes that will support a more attractive labour market and business environment in tourism, which will allow the industry to maintain a sufficient and highly qualified workforce, and hence support the enhancement of productivity in the industry."
He argued that in the current dispensation, the hospitality sector has to contend with negative perceptions of low wages and the lack of career opportunities beyond entry-level jobs.
The tourism minister said that "studies have found that many university students have a peripheral view of tourism".
He cited that, "There is oftentimes scarce information and misconceptions about the skills required, as well as the opportunities for career development. National Governments must take a lead in developing a long-term workforce development strategy. Ideally, such a strategy would be developed within the broader context of improving the industry’s competitiveness and sustainability, since the increasing demand for skilled labour will continue to present a major challenge in all countries. It is highly recommended that strategies and their implementation should be carried out with the private and education sectors, and embrace agreed-upon commitments from the industry."