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Wednesday 15th February 2012
Sandals Resorts International CEO Adam Stewart (front row center) poses with the ecstatic Trainee Managers during their orientation in Jamaica.
Three Antiguans are among 26 young persons from across the Caribbean employed with Sandals Resorts International (SRI) as trainee managers in the organization’s two-year Management Trainee Programme (MTP).
The trainee managers, who hail from Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua and the Bahamas, are currently undergoing  a two-week orientation with senior SRI Directors, to sensitize them to the company’s goals, objectives, and service standards as well as introduce them to the various departments.
In welcoming the candidates to the team, Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International emphasized the value of investing in human capital. “We recognise that it has been the people that have separated us from our competitors. It’s more than just our infrastructure. We have been able to epitomize the spirit of our Caribbean people and this company is keen and interested in developing talent,” he said. Alluding to the company’s vision for the next 30 years, Stewart alerted the trainee managers that they too will now play a role in making the vision a reality.
Director of Business Processes and Administration, Wayne Cummings – himself a product of the MTP - charged the candidates to grasp the opportunity with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Noting that there are many management trainee success stories within the company, he stated, “I was young, green, full of energy and brimming with excitement to join Sandals Resorts. I was given the opportunity to learn from the most amazing people across all levels of the company; to learn the culture of hospitality, but more importantly the essence of being ‘Sandalized’. It is great to be here 23 years later having come through the ranks, from line team member to General Manager of four of our resorts to now Senior Corporate Director. A programme such as this is life changing and we want all current and future trainees to take full advantage of it and be the best they can be.” He warned the trainees to expect challenges but urged them to be steadfast despite the obstacles.  
The three Antiguan trainee managers are Sharene Hall from the Butler Department at Sandals Grande Antigua, Cindy Joseph from the Accounts Department at Grand Pineapple Beach Resort and Sharon Musgrave who was an external applicant. All three have expressed their enthusiasm and look forward to the next two years.   “I am thrilled and proud to be handpicked from such a large pool of applicants and I am anticipating working in various departments and acquiring managerial skills so that I can advance in my career. My four years of experience as a butler at Sandals Grande Antigua has already equipped me with a sound knowledge of the tourism industry so I am ready to develop further both professionally and personally as I begin this exciting journey in Jamaica,” said Hall. 
With over 700 applications for the programme, 450 applicants were interviewed and 70 shortlisted. Shortlisted candidates were, among other criteria, assessed on their adaptability, future ambitions, interest in and interest in the tourism sector.
After orientation, candidates will be assigned to resorts throughout the region, where they will be exposed to the intricacies of the resort operations rotating to at least four properties, working from line level upwards. Candidates will also undergo a thorough 360-degree evaluation, focusing on their performance as team players, their leadership style, and their ability to think critically and to grow and develop as managers.
The programme, which was introduced in the 1980’s and placed on hiatus in 2009, was re-launched in 2011 as an addition to the resort chain’s ongoing thrust to invest in capacity-building throughout its operations. The Sandals MTP two-year training and development programme is the centerpiece of SRI’s Management Succession Planning Strategy. It is in keeping with the organization’s history of investing in the development of young people, many of whom are now trailblazers in regional and global tourism.


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