Director of the National Transformation Initiative (NTI), Dr. Allyson Leacock. (FP)

Forty-eight employees from Courtyard by Marriott graduated from the Art of Service tourism training programme, which was held by the National Transformation Initiative (NTI), in collaboration with the Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) programme.

Speaking at the online graduation ceremony on Monday, Director of the NTI, Dr. Allyson Leacock, pointed out that the training was the fourth of its kind, which is tailored to help elevate service leaders within the tourism industry.

Dr. Leacock pointed out that the way we live and work has changed because of the pandemic, and as a result, people must be flexible and able to adapt how they provide their service, whether it is to visitors or locals.  She shared six Cs which she believes could help build personal excellence.

“I heard that one of your values is pursuing excellence; living it, it’s not easy, but it’s worth the daily effort. There are in fact, six Cs of inclusive leadership that I think are useful. I try to follow them and they are useful for all of us to strive for. The first is communication; the second C is collaboration; the third C is creative problem solving; the fourth C is commitment; the fifth C is courage, and the final C, especially appropriate for you, is cultural competence,” the NTI Director stated.

Dr. Leacock encouraged the graduands to never stop learning and to make sure that they always deliver personal excellence.

Course facilitator and Chief Executive Officer of May Hinds Consulting, May Hinds, highlighted that the five-week interactive course involved learning in real-time, face to face, as well as independent guided facilitated learning, in keeping with the goal of experiential learning.  “Tasks and activities were always geared towards work experiences, so that they were practical and meaningful,” she said.

Ms. Hinds stated that various assessment criteria and indicators were used to verify that learning occurred, “namely a challenge quiz – 30 per cent, learning law – 30 per cent, and one-on-one interviews”.

Overall, she said participants learnt that service is so much more than a singular transaction.  It is an overall customer experience; it’s the result of the interaction between the customer and the entire service system.

Since March 2021, other service leaders in the tourism industry have participated in and completed the ‘Art of Service’ training, including staff from Harlequin Restaurant, Just Grillin’, and St. Lawrence Beach Corporation. 

To date, the NTI has supported the BEST programme in offering over 2,000 tourism workers training in a variety of management, beginner and intermediate language courses, housekeeping and house management programmes, and basic food safety training. 

There were also specialised courses in landscape gardening, plumbing, mixology, photovoltaic installation, electric vehicle maintenance and other in-demand areas.

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