Twenty-five unemployed Bermudians have been trained as chambermaids and housemen as part of a new public-private partnership.
The trainees said they had problems finding jobs and were grateful to be offered a place on the training scheme.
Suriya Ramsey, 23, said: “I was in a place where I was trying to figure out what direction I was going to go in next. I was not sure what I was going to do about a job, or about getting any type of learning.
But she added: “Now, this is what I want to do, be in hospitality at this point in my life. I hope that having my certificate through this programme and being at the Fairmont Southampton will make it easier for me to get a job working here.”
Talae Gibbons, 18, said: “I’ve been looking for jobs months after months. I want to be a nurse’s assistant, but it’s never wrong to have more than one skill under your belt.”
The youngster added: “No matter what struggles you have in life, no matter how difficult it is to be looking for a job, don’t let obstacles in life stop you from what you really want to do.”
Malika Cartwright, executive director of the Bermuda Hospitality Institute, explained: “The initiative provides participants with a broad-based certificate from the American Hotel and Lodging Certification in Guestroom Attendant.
She added: “We are excited that this course is being made available to those on Financial Assistance — to get them back to work and making a valuable contribution to our island.”
The programme is a collaboration between the Bermuda Hospitality Institute, Fairmont Southampton and the Government of Bermuda.
The course involved one week of theory and one week of practical work and aimed to give the trainees the skills and knowledge needed to keep guest rooms clean, safe and well-maintained.
Marie-Berengere Chapoton, Fairmont Southampton’s hotel manager, said: “It is a really great opportunity for us to assess and develop potential talent.
She added: “Fairmont Southampton is a key player in the hospitality industry in Bermuda and this is one of our main engagements — to develop local talent into the hospitality industry.”
To mark the launch, 16 of the 25 trainees took part in a skills demonstration at the Fairmont Southampton in the Penthouse Suite yesterday.
Cabinet ministers Diallo Rabain, Jamahl Simmons and Michael Weeks represented their respective ministries at the launch and said they were “very proud” after the skills demonstration.
Mr Rabain, Minister of Education and Workforce Development, said: “I know I am excited, along with my Cabinet colleagues, to see this programme come to fruition.
He added: “When we were approached about this a few months ago, I had not known we’d be able to pull something off so quickly.”