Oct. 31, 2003 – Some 65 University of the Virgin Islands students got a look at career tracks available within the territory's hospitality industry on Thursday at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center, and about a third of them went through an interview process for a new program of local internships this academic year.
Thursday's event was the first Career Information Trade Show co-sponsored by UVI and the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, and it served as a platform to launch the association's pilot internship program.
Local hospitality industry businesses — Boschulte Landscaping, Coral World, Island Meetings & Incentives, Limnos Charters, Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, Renaissance Grand Beach Resort and the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas — and the hotel association and the Tourism Department had displays about their operations and opportunities for employment.
Jamie Holmes, who chairs the association's Education and Training Committee, and Samuel Rey, a former hotel association scholarship recipient, addressed the students, encouraging them to look into the many career possibilities within the hospitality sector.
The internship program is placing 10 students this academic year in what have been designated "leadership development positions." Twenty students interviewed for the available positions on Friday; the 10 selected will be placed with the five hotels participating in the program initially.
According to Beverly Nicholson, association executive director, the UVI/Hotel and Tourism Association internship program has four objectives:
– To increase UVI students' awareness of employment opportunities in tourism.
– To provide them in-depth knowledge of interdepartmental activities within the hospitality industry.
– To allow students to observe, analyze and recommend solutions for opportunities within assigned site.
– To enable students to utilize information and experience obtained for their own career development.
The pilot internship program being operated by the association and UVI will run from November through next May. Positions within the program may be in any of the following areas: food and beverage, culinary, rooms, engineering and landscaping, marketing and sales, administration and general services, finance and information technology, or marine, recreation and entertainment activities.
Each student selected will each be assigned a mentor at his or her internship site and must meet at least monthly with that mentor. There will be an orientation for interns at each participating site.
Interns will be required to work 15 to 20 hours per week and must be available on weekends and holidays including over the yearend and spring breaks. They will be paid $7 per hour. At the end of the internship students may interview for other available positions at their internship site or at another property.
Interns will be evaluated in terms of job skills in each assigned work area. They must "display good team spirit and must work in accordance with the standards of the assigned establishment," according to the program outline. Interns will be evaluated upon their completion of each department rotation. Interns themselves are to provide a summary of the work they have done in each area. They also are required to carry out a special project, which could be an assignment from their college.
Upon successful completion of the internship program, each student will receive a certificate of participation from the hotel association.
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