October 21, 2020

NWDA and Marriott Resort work together to offer hospitality experiences

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photo-1-marriott_darrell-paddyfootGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands – The National Workforce Development Agency () continues to partner with businesses in the community to provide training and vocational opportunities for Caymanians. The most recent initiative was a five-week workshop series called Soft Skills in the , which was conducted by professionals from the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and attended by nine Caymanians.

The course covered a range of topics such as how to make a job application stand out; what to expect at a Marriott interview; tips on what employers are specifically looking for when hiring; how to positively communicate using words, tone and body language; how customer service and problem solving impacts guest experience; working within a team dynamic; and building self-confidence.

photo-2-marriott_training-participants“We appreciate companies like the Marriott for their commitment to assisting the NWDA in its goal to be a valued partner and facilitator in the training, development and employment of Caymanians and give members of the workforce a greater opportunity to succeed,” said Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister for Employment. “Through partnerships with employers such as the Marriott and the provision of tailored training and education to address the needs of employers we can collectively bring together the elements necessary to increase job seekers prospects of finding employment, and increase employers’ ability to find suitably qualified employees. These partnerships are leading to success in this regard.”

“Partnerships such as this one with the Marriott have proven to be very useful for our NWDA clients because the courses that are offered help them to build their skills and acquire the tools necessary to make them successful candidates for careers in the industry,” explained Dianne Conolly, NWDA Manager Training & Development. “We are very pleased that this partnership continues to grow and the training curriculum has adapted to the needs of the industry, addressing barriers and providing the skills development needed to access employment.

Marriott and the NWDA have been working together for the past three years to offer workshops such as “Introduction to Food & Beverage” and “Bellman 101”. Valerie Hoppe, Marriott’s Director of Human Resources says the collaboration has been very beneficial.

“Often we identify candidates who are interested in Hospitality but do not necessarily understand the industry so are afraid to try it out, and/or they are unaware of the skills necessary for the industry on a whole,” explained Ms. Hoppe. “We are taking a grass-roots effort – one candidate at a time – to really empower them with the basic skills necessary to be successful in our industry. We felt this course would give NWDA clients the opportunity to acquire that knowledge, take a peek into the world of hospitality, as well as assist them in their job search. It also allows the candidates to meet us in a relaxed environment, and hopefully make personal connections which provide better chances of success.”

Hoppe says one of the challenges she and others in the industry face is encouraging Caymanians to recognise Hospitality as a career but over the years she has seen much more interest, especially from the younger generation, as a result of working very closely with the schools to take on students through work experience and internships.

One of the participants from this most recent workshop was offered, and accepted a position with the Marriott team, Hoppe revealed.

“Baldwin Day will be joining us as part of the Recreation team. All the course attendees were very engaged, interested and open to learning, and from day one our Performance Development Manager, Kay Ludeke, knew he would be a great fit for our hotel. He was very engaged, positive, genuinely passionate about customer service, charismatic, and most of all he loves being at the beach, and being a part of the Beach House team. We look forward to watching him succeed as a member of the Marriott family.”

Day will join , another Caymanian, who is currently a Houseman in the Housekeeping Department. He came to the Marriott’s attention through the Bellman 101 training in 2014.

“I was very excited about the training with Marriott and wanted to make a good impression so I made sure to attend every week,” said Paddyfoot. “I was one of the few that completed the course; the Rooms Manager noticed, and I was offered a job at the hotel. I want more Caymanians to see the opportunities that are available through NWDA and to take advantage of them like I did. When I started, there were ups and downs as I adjusted to a new industry, but I am glad I stuck it out as I now see a future with the Marriott.”

For more information about the programmes and services that are offered by the NWDA contact the NWDA’s Training and Development Unit by email at [email protected] or call 945-3114.

Photos and Captions:

Photo 1: Mr. Darrell Paddyfoot, who took advantage of the Marriott’s Bellman 101 training in 2014 and as a result, secured employment as a Houseman at the hotel.

Photo 2: NWDA Manager Training and Development Ms. Dianne Conolly with participants who completed the Soft Skills in the Hospitality Industry, which was conducted by professionals from the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and attended by nine Caymanians.

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