Jamaican hospitality training goes to North Side’s Whittaker

 

Passion for the tourism industry in
the Cayman Islands has landed one young North Sider in Jamaica to study.

Patrick Whittaker was chosen out of
five candidates in North Side’s ‘Hard Work and Determination…The world is
yours to accomplish’ campaign in May 2010 to receive a $10,000 scholarship to
further his studies.

The money gives him one year of
study, tuition, room and board at the Runaway Bay Heart Hotel and Training
Institute in St. Ann Jamaica where he will be trained to be a qualified food
and beverage manager.

“We started working with young
people in June 2009 when we invited all of the recent graduates from high
school to find out if they wanted to go to college or work. Those that wanted
to work, we tried to find them jobs,” said North Side Member of Legislative Assembly
Ezzard Miller.

Young Patrick wanted to continue
learning.

He began his work in the tourism
industry as a yard worker at Driftwood Sports Bar and Grill and worked his way
up through bus boy, waiter and bar tender and eventually went to work at
Margaritaville.

“I’m here doing school work and I’m
scheduled for working in the dining area, getting food and beverage hands-on
training and library work. It makes sense to further my education and get what
I want,” Patrick said from Jamaica. “When I’m finished I’m coming straight back
to Cayman to work with Margaritaville.”

The MLA’s office received an email
from Margaritaville in December confirming Patrick’s employment once he has finished
his studies in Jamaica.

Mr. Miller said he had heard about
the Heart Foundation from Dunbar McFarlane of the Jamaica Building Society.

Archie Whittaker, manager of the
North Side MLA office, took up the challenge and started investigating.

“I did a lot of research on the
Internet,” said Mr. Whittaker. “With the help of Mrs. Jennifer Smith of the
Department of Employment Relations, and after two years of hard work, this all
came to fruition.”

The biggest challenge was finding
money for the scholarship, Mr. Miller said.

Mr. Whittaker wrote letters to
businesses and individuals seeking financial help. The major sponsor that came
forward prefers to remain anonymous. The Deford family of Cayman Kai donated
clothing, toiletries, lunch items and classroom supplies.

“We’re hoping we can get some of
the hotels and restaurants to come on board,” said Mr. Miller, which he said
would only make sense if they are serious about training young Caymanians for
the hospitality and tourism industry.

The process to find another young
man or woman for training or to help them find a job will occur again this
June.

The winner of the next scholarship
will have to meet the same criteria as Patrick – be drug and alcohol free, have
a good school record, community participation, be charitable, be a role model
and have passion for the career for which they choose to study.

The North Side MLA and his office
are also working with primary school students, using high schoolers to mentor
the younger children and tell them what they can expect as they leave primary
school.

LOCALJamaicanhospitalitySTORY

North Sider Patrick Whittaker is studying in Jamaica.
Photo: Submitted