A well-developed workforce is the key to Aruba's success as a tourist destination, so the country is launching a new training and certification initiative built around training resources from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), a National Restaurant Association hospitality portfolio brand.
The island-wide launching of the hospitality training initiative was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 6, at the Hyatt Place Aruba Airport Hotel. The training initiative is supported by Aruba's ministries of education, tourism, and labor; the Aruba Tourism Authority, the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, and Colegio Educacion Professional Intermedio (EPI). All of these organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 27, 2019, focused on elevating the service level of Aruba's hospitality and tourism industry through training and professional certification.
"We want to bring service on the island to the next level of excellence so it is reconfirmed as a high-quality tourism destination, especially as more five-star brands establish new properties here," said Jan de Ruijter, coordinator for the minister of education. "We need to provide amazing guest service island wide—at our hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions. This move is strongly supported by the government; in particular, the ministers of education, tourism and labor."
"As Aruba's tourism industry continues to grow, having a well-qualified workforce will become increasingly important. Our training expertise will help Aruba upskill its hospitality labor pool, positioning the island to meet and exceed the demands of international travelers," said Sherman L. Brown, Executive Vice President of Training & Certification for the National Restaurant Association.
AHLEI's programs exemplify a new global vision of professional education called VET, Vocational Education and Training. VET recognizes and encourages skills-based training as important and essential to the growth of a country's economy.
"The courses and programs of AHLEI fit precisely the vision I had when taking office in November of 2017 that all personnel and employees in the hospitality and tourism sector need to be certified for both knowledge and competencies in their chosen profession and for their professional attitude in delivering customer service to our visitors," said Dr. Armando Lampe, Aruba's Minister of Education, Science, and Sustainable Development. "Certification by the American Hotel & Lodging Association through AHLEI will be required for all positions from room attendants, houseman, engineers, restaurant and front desk staff, as well as other hospitality and tourism professionals."
Colegio EPI, an AHLEI Global Academic Partner (GAP) licensee since 2015, will deliver the training programs using the Cascade Training Model, a proven system for training large numbers of hospitality and tourism professionals within a region. Programs to be offered include the Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT), Certified Hospitality Department Trainer (CHDT), and the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP). Additional training and certification will target line-level employees, security officers, supervisors, and managers.
In its first two years, the program's goal is to train 6,000 frontline staff who will become Certified Guest Service Professionals, and then continue the momentum by offering additional programs through 2021 to upskill hospitality and tourism employees and improve the guest experience throughout Aruba.
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