OVER the next four years thousands of Caribbean nationals stand to benefit from increased employment and regional training opportunities as Sandals Resorts International (SRI) ramps up its long-established Team Member Exchange Programme and seeks to grow its staff from 15,000 to 20,000.
This follows the all-inclusive luxury resort chain’s recent announcement of new acquisitions, its expansion into a ninth Caribbean island destination, and its anticipation of a full recovery of the regional tourism sector from the devastating effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sandals, in a news release yesterday, explained that the Team Member Exchange Programme is a central part of its future-facing strategy. The programme sees the continued movement of Caribbean nationals to take up assignments at a number of the company’s resorts across the region.
“The exchange programme is an initiative through the Sandals Corporate University (SCU) and allows recruits to become immersed in the Sandals and Beaches resorts’ culture while existing employees are seconded to other resorts, providing an opportunity to travel and become exposed to new working environments and cultures, widen their skills and insights, enhance their career development, and positively impact their job performance on return to their home resort,” Sandals said.
The programme, the company said, remains a clear indication of its commitment to regional integration and, equally, its investment in its people, which has been met with much success through initiatives such as the Management Trainee Programme (MTP).
“The MTP identifies and grooms outstanding young recruits to become managers in the company through hands-on learning and training at resorts across the region. In addition, the company continues to carry out region-wide job recruitment exercises, offering continuous employment to Caribbean nationals, and taking advantage of Caricom’s free movement of skilled persons agreement,” the multiple-award-winning company said.
“Sandals Resorts International remains a true depiction of the spirit of Caricom. While in the short term we are focused on getting all our current team members back to work, we are also looking to the future and our mid- to long-term goals,” the release quotes SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, adding that the company is very optimistic about the future of tourism and Sandals’ leading role in the sector’s full recovery in the region.
“With our announcements [of new resorts] for Curacao and St Vincent and the Grenadines, there is no doubt that opportunities exist not only for existing team members from our resorts in the Turks and Caicos, Grenada, Antigua, Jamaica, Barbados, Saint Lucia, and The Bahamas, but also recruits from these new island destinations. We are proud of our long-standing tradition of providing cross-border growth and opportunities for regional residents to both learn new skills and share their existing ones,” added Stewart, who is also executive chairman of the Jamaica Observer.
Sandals explained that each participant’s unique training programme, including length of stay overseas and learning objectives, is determined through collaboration with the home resort and the SCU. All participants are required to submit a reflective report at the end of their training and will also be assigned SCU coaches who will assist them throughout their training journey.
“At the core of our training has always been the process of immersive learning,” Stewart said. “Over the years we have built a strong and distinct Sandals culture which has made us a leading global brand. We want our people to travel to other islands, spend quality time, and learn from their colleagues and other nationals.
“Each island is unique and so is each of our resorts. This exchange programme not only serves to strengthen our regional workforce, but also provides them with the kind of exposure and cultural sensitivity that positions them to be global citizens. We are therefore very excited to ramp up this programme and kick-start what we know will continue to be the model for regional training, development and employment,” Stewart said.