Elizabeth gets 2nd professional scholarship

A Cayman Islands resident working within the tourism sector has received a professional development scholarship from the Caribbean Hotel Association for the second year running.

Elizabeth Depledge, who has just taken on a new position as Personnel Administrator for the Department of Tourism, first received a professional development scholarship for 2004, worth US$2,000 and has received the same again this year.

‘I’m thrilled to be able to further my education in this way,’ said a delighted Elizabeth. ‘I’m pleased that these people have confidence in me.’

The scholarships have allowed Elizabeth, who is originally from Canada, to pursue studies through the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resources Professionals. She is undergoing a World at Work study programme which will give her certification in the area of remuneration.

The course of study involves eight modules, three of which she successfully studied last year, courtesy of the scholarship. She passed and received certification on those. This year she embarks on three more modules, which her new scholarship allows her to do. She plans to finish the entire certification by 2006.

Elizabeth is one of 44 people awarded academic scholarships and professional development grants from The CHA, totaling an unprecedented US$126,000, to promising Caribbean students and professionals who work in the hotel and tourism sector. The scholarships are awarded through the Caribbean Hotel Foundation, one of the largest scholarship programs in the hospitality industry. The beneficiaries represent 16 Caribbean destinations, an increase of four over 2004: Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United States Virgin Islands.

‘The goal of the Foundation is to contribute to the professional development of the Caribbean workforce, thus playing a part in the long-term improvement of the Caribbean tourism industry’s standards and overall product. I am thrilled that in 2005, we have succeeded in widening our geographic reach and awarding more scholarships than ever before,’ said Gill Titcombe, CHF Coordinator.

Every year, CHF offers academic scholarships to students who demonstrate a strong commitment to the hotel and tourism industry and the potential for future success.

Elizabeth came to Grand Cayman in November 1994 and began work at the Marriott Resort where she spent two and a half years. She then spent seven and a half years at Red Sail Sports before moving to DoT a week ago. Through her years here Elizabeth has gained much experience in the areas of food and beverage, administration and as a personnel officer.

For many years she has been involved with the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals and has been a Director on the Board for the past two years. She is also on the Training and Education Committee of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.

Indeed, she thanked Mr. Philip Jackson, the CISHRP’s Director for professional development for his role in sourcing out courses, including the World at Work study programme, that are so relevant for the development of Human resources in the Cayman Islands. She is also grateful that the course of study can be done from Cayman, as it would cost 10 times as much to pursue from within the US, she said.

A release from CHA, says that this year’s scholarships represent a 100 percent increase in the total amount awarded in 2004. ‘The sweeping increase was possible in part thanks to the generous contributions of private sector patrons, including Virgin Holidays, Interval International, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Royal Caribbean International, and Carnival Cruise Lines. In addition, the Foundation raised $85,000 through the annual live and silent auctions and the benefit golf tournament held in June during the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference in Miami, Florida.’