Sandals Resorts International, through its Sandals Corporate University, has partnered with the HEART College of Hospitality Services to launch an events planning and management training programme geared specifically towards enhancing the capabilities of entertainment managers in the hospitality industry.
The nine-month associate degree programme is a modified version of a similar course being offered by HEART and was redesigned specifically to suit the needs of entertainment managers working in the hotel sector.
“The main components of the course were built from our everyday activities and skills we need to be the best at our jobs,” a release quotes Sandals’ Group Manager for Themed Entertainment and Activities Joel Ryan.
“Programme modules included budgeting and planning, occupational health and safety, conversational Spanish and talent recruitment. We wanted to enhance the knowledge and marketability of our entertainment managers by providing them with opportunities for growth and development and we are confident that this degree has expanded their leadership capacity,” Ryan added.
Participants included Sandals and Beaches entertainment managers from the Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril and South Coast regions who attended classes twice per week at Sandals Resorts International’s head office in Montego Bay. They were assessed in various areas including planning and execution of a conference or symposium and, most important, improving guests’ experience at the resorts.
As part of the programme’s final assessment, participants were tasked to plan and execute an event, the release explained. The managers decided on a forum and interactive session entitled ‘Dancehall a Wi Everyting’ aimed at providing knowledge about dancehall and its role in Jamaican culture and highlighting the importance of including and promoting dancehall in the tourism industry.
The event, which was recently held at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, featured panellists Dr Lisa Tomlinson, lecturer at The University of the West Indies; as well as Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts representatives Colleen Douglas, marketing and communications specialist, and Maria Hitchins, dance lecturer.
Director/principal of the HEART College of Hospitality Services Shorna Newsome Myrie described the pilot programme as a success.
“I know it must not have been easy for the participants to balance work and school,” she said, “but they were committed so they applied themselves. We look forward to the continued partnership between HEART and the Sandals Corporate University.”
Susanne Ingram, Beaches Ocho Rios’ divisions manager – entertainment, kids camp and animations, was pleased to have been a part of the venture.
“To be a part of the first cohort of such a programme is truly an honour,” she said. “With everything there were a few challenges as it was hard to be away from my day-to-day operations for nine months. However, the knowledge that I have garnered from this programme will certainly improve how I manage and plan activities going forward.”
The programme is expected to continue in August 2020 with entertainment supervisors being chief among the second cohort of participants.