Canada’s Blue Mountain Resort’s senior recruiter, John Barrie and Human Resources coordinator, Lauren Struthers, chatting with Senior Employment Officer, Barbados Employment and Career Counselling Service, Pauline Farnum, prior to the job interviews. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Thirteen Barbadians will soon have the opportunity to work at Canada’s Blue Mountain Resort.

On a recent visit to Barbados, the resort’s senior recruiter, John Barrie, and Human Resources Coordinator, Lauren Struthers, spent three days interviewing prospective candidates who will join the other 27 Barbadians already working at the five-star Ontario hotel.

Mr. Barrie, who was speaking prior to the recruitment drive, facilitated by the Barbados Employment and Career Counselling Service (BECCS), at the Warrens Office Complex, explained that they had returned to Barbados as a source market for employment given the previous working relationship and great experience with its workers.

“We are here in beautiful Barbados to recruit housekeepers for our resort in Ontario, Canada.  We come to Barbados because we’ve had the experience of fantastic talent and commitment to quality, with the workers that we brought back to our resort.”

Explaining that this was the third time they had workers from Barbados, Mr. Barrie said: “It all ties in to what our government unemployment rate is there.  They open up our permits to special Labour Market Impact Assessment Applications, which provide the justification for why labour should be outsourced so that we are able to get the talent here to bring back to Ontario, for one year permits.”

He noted too that only 40 people would be chosen because the permits issued by the Canadian Government were very stringent.

“If we had asked for a lot more maybe we may not have been approved.  Last year we had 30, but this year we went for 40 and that’s a very comfortable number for the room attendants that we need to complement our other full time and seasonal staff.”

“The government approves the programme one year at a time.  If we apply again and they’re still there when we’re approved the second time then they can stay if they want to stay and their qualities are good,” he stated.

Pointing out that the Blue Mountain programme was very popular and attracted quite a number of persons, the senior recruiter said those previously hired ranged from age 20 to just over 60.

“The last year I was here we interviewed 115 people for 30 spots. This year, we’re interviewing about 40. Some have already been chosen because they are returning, so we will be looking at 40 people for 15 to 18 spots.  So it’s very popular; but that’s why we come here because we get selection and top quality,” he said, lauding the Barbadian workers.

Ms. Struthers also praised the Barbadians already working in the resort, noting that they were “professional, very friendly and out-going” bringing the qualities that Blue Mountain expects from those who sign on to the one-year programme.

“They bring these really great qualities back to Blue Mountain and elevate our workforce as well,” she said, adding they were team-oriented and always involved in events. 

Mr. Barrie, in identifying the biggest challenge to date which Bajans tend to have, said it had to do with sharing living accommodations in a large house.

“That, I think, is the biggest culture shock when people come and see they’re sharing a room with somebody and they’re 10 to 12 people living in that house. So, it’s getting used to living with others. That seems to be the biggest thing to prepare for because they are prepared to do their job and brave the weather,” he said.

Meanwhile, Acting Director of BECCS, Yvette Walcott-Dennis, in expressing gratitude to the representatives of the Blue Mountain Hotel, said it was a pleasure to welcome the team back to Barbados to select additional workers. 

She not only thanked the hotel chain for providing employment opportunities for Barbadian workers, but added that the exposure to other nationalities, through the hotel’s diversity policy, served to expand the workers’ world view and would enrich their experience in Canada.

Mrs. Walcott-Dennis added that she looked forward to expanding these links to other hotels within the group in Canada and where possible, in the United States. 

She also lauded the workers for the way they represented Barbados with the quality of their service and encouraged them to continue to give of their best.

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