Thirteen Virgin Islanders are ready for careers in the hospitality industry as graduates of the Diageo USVI Learning Skills for Life Program. Six St. Thomas students and seven on St. Croix completed the course and graduated Friday.
Diageo USVI, in conjunction with UVI CELL, offered the free five-week course, which provided participants with the tools, training and skills needed to start a career in the hospitality industry. Students were trained in customer service, bartending basics, communication and business etiquette, and also learned valuable life skills such as managing personal finances, working in a team environment, resume creation and interviewing techniques. The socially distanced course was held simultaneously on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
Sheldon Turnbull of Da Chill Station offered the use of his facilities in downtown Charlotte Amalie to conduct the St. Thomas class. This year, the project also partnered with the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association to share available employment opportunities with the graduates.
Learning Skills for Life is part of a larger global training program introduced by Diageo to help individuals develop valuable life skills and expand career possibilities. Launched in the USVI in 2010, the program provides individuals with free basic skills, specialist training and work experience in the hospitality industry, either in the culinary area or bartending, which was this year’s focus. Participants receive classroom-based technical instruction and general life skills, followed by an internship in the hospitality industry where available.
“We have had students say it was positive,” said Ayopha Stalliard, UVI CELL program manager on St. Thomas. “Some went on to go into bartending, but for some, it also helped them acquire permanent jobs in other areas, incorporating some of the skills they learned, such as how to do a resume, for part-time and full-time employment.”