The Government of Grenada has endorsed the launch of the West Indies School of Hospitality (WISH), which in partnership with eCornell, will make online courses in hospitality available to Grenadians.
The WISH was launched on Tuesday, with Barry Collymore, one of the business partners behind the venture, announcing that 6,000 courses will be offered to Grenadians every year, at no cost.
Delivering remarks at the event, Prime Minister, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell expressed full support for the initiative, saying education is fundamental to the quality of the society we are developing. He said Government’s vision is to create a healthy, educated, productive and prosperous society.
Dr Mitchell stated, “Any initiative that affects the education of our people, has enormous impact on the quality of our society. Tourism is important to the success of our country and we need to maximise all of the opportunities that are before us. Grenada’s true potential in tourism has not been tapped. The level of potential that exists, cannot be underestimated. We have not used it optimally and for us to achieve that optimisation, the training of our people is crucial. It is one of the fundamental factors that will improve our tourism product.”
The Prime Minister expects the availability of online professional development courses for persons in the hospitality industry, to bring tremendous benefit to the people of Grenada.
He said, “I can see exposure to this educational opportunity inspiring beneficiaries to seek even more education. It is clear that this hospitality institution will have a far-reaching, positive impact on the lives of Grenadians and on other Caribbean nationals when the opportunity becomes available to them.”
The courses will be delivered through an online platform and the Grenadian leader said the region must continue to harness available technology and deploy it as a tool through which Caribbean people can achieve great strides.
The Ministries of Education and Tourism have similarly welcomed the initiative, acknowledging it as a critical factor in the educational advancement and continued empowerment of Grenadians.
Education Minister Honourable Emmalin Pierre cited clear alignment between the hospitality school and her Ministry’s mission and vision which speak to quality education, relevance of education and equity of access.
Minister Pierre said, “Relevance in education is a worldwide conversation and we have to ensure that what we teach our students, they are able to take it to the job market and access the opportunities that are available. When we speak about quality education, we must speak about the development of skills, ensuring that our people realise their fullest potential and empowering them to make a greater contribution to national development.”
Tourism Minister, Hon. Clarice Modeste-Curwen noted that although Covid-19 has devastated the global tourism industry, there is hope for the future and the West Indies School of Hospitality initiative complements that ray of hope.
She said, “Tourism is resilient and has rebounded time and time again and this time will be no exception. Surveys show that a lot of people are just waiting for the right time to travel again. Grenada is listed as one of 6 destinations that people should have on their radar when world travel resumes. With this impending increase in visitors, everyone should grasp the opportunity that will certainly help to improve the overall quality of service that we deliver.”
Other speakers at Tuesday’s event included President of the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association Leo Garbutt; Vice Provost for External Education at Cornell and Executive Director of eCornell Paul Krause and Naguib Sawiris owner of Silversands Grenada and a founding partner of the West Indies School of Hospitality.
eCornell, the external education unit of Cornell University, provides certification in a range of areas including hospitality. Among the courses that will be made available to Grenadians through the West Indies School of Hospitality are service excellence, hospitality leadership and food and beverage management. Different categories of hospitality workers will be eligible for the scholarship including managers, supervisors and general service staff.