Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (right), and owner and Managing Director of Crane Resort, Paul Doyle,??signing the Memorandum of Understanding to increase the number of students from the SJPP in the internship programme at the hotel.??(Randy Bennett)

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed recently between the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and the Crane Resort, has been described by Minister Ronald Jones as a "show of social responsibility" on the part of the hotel that should be emulated by other organisations.

Minister Jones initialled the MOU that will see more interns from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) being trained at the St. Philip hotel.

He said: "Too many times there are agencies and companies whose principle aim is extracting from society without putting back in equal favour."

Mr. Jones added: "It is a show of social responsibility where you can reach out to young people and say to them ???come into our space’… this social responsibility being demonstrated by you is a serious level of commitment to young people.

"You [The Crane] have looked past some of the challenges put on these young people in a changing world… As this [MOU] is signed, the commitment of Crane will be unfolded over time, as you re-evaluate how the interns are progressing and how the programme is doing. It is very important that you help with the soft skills of our young people, whose minds still need opportunities to grow and develop."

The Minister further expressed the hope that the relationship would be long-term and indicated it would take some of the scouting for attachment programmes off the SJPP’s shoulders.

Principal of the Polytechnic, Anthony Headley, explained that the signing was a reflection of the institution’s strong industry-based partnerships, which enabled students to be guaranteed workplace attachments during their training and up to graduation.

In praising the Crane Resort for the initiative, he stated: "I am pleased that they were satisfied with the quality of students. I am also pleased that Crane conceptualised an internship programme based on their level of satisfaction."

Acknowledging that the signing also represented "another significant development in the SJPP’s future", Mr. Headley congratulated owner and Managing Director of The Crane, Paul Doyle and his staff for "the level of support and work in getting us to this stage."?? And, he declared: "With this continued level of support we anticipate a manageable rand a strong long-term relationship."

In offering background to the MOU, General Manager of the Crane, Michael Phillips said that at the beginning of 2009, in the face of contracting source markets and general economic malaise, Mr. Doyle mandated that a Social Responsibility Programme be conceptualised and executed, which would significantly impact key constituencies within the community.

He disclosed it was further suggested that through the establishment of strategic relationships with tertiary level institutions, that students should be exposed to the world of work and at the same time be provided with opportunities to gain internationally recognised competency-based certification. This, he revealed, was likely to enhance the students’ skills set and marketability, both here and abroad.

Mr. Philips stressed: "The MOU builds on the success of the internship programme as the central plank of the relationship, to include notably, exploration of a student day release programme, annual scholarships; and sponsorship of a Crane Annual Award.?? Members of the Crane management team [were also] featured in a chat series. …. There are also opportunities for SJPP tutors to continuously update their skills and knowledge-sets through exposure to Crane operations."

More than 50 SJPP students have successfully completed their internships at The Crane and 100 per cent passes have been achieved by those who took the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) exams.

Currently, there are 60 students in a work attachment programme at the Hotel.

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