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13 young Caymanians poised for successful tourism careers

Education 20 Nov, 2023 Follow News

Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism and Ports, addressed the graduates.

Jo Lawson, Dart Chief of Staff presenting Jamar Ellis with an award for exemplary performance. Others receiving this award were Angel Smith, Yarik Smith and Kiahna Tibbetts.

2023 Dart Hospitality Training Programme graduates pictured with Lynn University and Dart representatives. Missing from the photo is graduate Leean Anderson.

Graduates of the Dart Hospitality Training Programme received hands on experience from Dart Hospitality portfolio combined with two-weeks intensive in-class training from Lynn University.


Thirteen young Caymanians have received the foundational skills to help put them on the pathway to successful careers in the hospitality industry. They form the latest cohort to have successfully completed the Dart Hospitality Training Programme, where they received in-class learning and paid on-the-job training at Dart-owned hotels in Grand Cayman.

Over the course of three months, participants who ranged in age from 16-29 years, received two weeks of employability training with a curriculum designed and delivered by Lynn University along with four weeks of rotation in various roles and six weeks of position-specific training at Hampton by Hilton Grand Cayman, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. In addition to their learning opportunities, they received a minimum of 30 hours of paid work per week and full basic insurance coverage.

“I offer my warmest congratulations on your successes. May you take it and offer unreasonable hospitality to the guests of our shores, one where Caymankind exhumes the remarkable power of giving people more than they expect,” said Dart Chief of Staff Joanne Lawson, as she addressed graduates at a ceremony at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa on 16 November.

This second cohort of the programme was enhanced through a partnership between Dart and Lynn University in Florida, which afforded participants the opportunity to get training from an accredited institution along with practical training at the various Dart-owned properties. The two-week syllabus delivered by Assistant Professor Dr. Karima Lanfranco was designed to expose participants to and improve their understanding of a variety of positions in front and back of house operations. Topics included hotel etiquette, guest relations and problem solving before participants began formal on-the-job training in each of the hotels.

“Our most recent collaboration with the Dart Hospitality Training Programme is sure to be successful because it fosters that on-the-job training with the most relevant academic foundations. It’s an exposure to various roles in the hospitality industry, which is a cornerstone of our local economy,” said Dr. Katrina Carter-Tellison, Lynn University’s vice president for academic affairs.

She noted that according to the most recent hospitality industry analysis from the Global Market Model, the hospitality sector is poised for significant growth over the next 10 years.

“Almost every industry is turning to hospitality to guide the customer experience, the student experience, the patient experience, the client experience, any experience you can think of, we are turning to hospitality to guide us through that process. Predictions such as this further emphasise why the collaboration between Lynn and Dart can close the gap between industry experience and academia, equipping students with practical skills and a deep understanding of the global role of hospitality and tourism,” said Dr. Carter-Tellison.

Dart also partnered with the Department of Tourism to facilitate Know Your Cayman Islands training and participation in the interactive PROMISES workshop, where the focus was on enhanced customer service and creating positive visitor experiences. Programme participants were also immersed into the tourism product to deepen their understanding of how visitors can make the most memorable experiences while in the Cayman Islands.

Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism and Ports, hailed the graduates as being heroes for taking their first steps towards careers in tourism. “The fact that you have successfully completed this programme tells me that you are not afraid to work hard and invest the time and effort to learn something new, to equip yourselves for the world of work.”

Bryan noted that the valuable insights they gained during their time in the programme. “This insight has given you a well-rounded understanding of the industry, enabling you to be adaptable and versatile. You have achieved a significant milestone, and today, you are not just receiving certificates, you are becoming ambassadors for the Cayman Islands’ tourism industry, which as you know, is a crucial second pillar of our country’s economy,” he said.

The 13 graduates who received certificates of completion from Dart and Lynn University are: Leean Anderson, Andrew Baptist, Duweisha Brown, Trudy Cotterell, Jamar Ellis, Kristina Mitchell, Kylie Bell-Pearson, Destiny Russell, Angel Smith, Yarik Smith, Kiahna Tibbetts, Andre Washington and Dylan Watler. Special recognition awards were also presented to Jamar Ellis, Angel Smith, Yarik Smith and Kiahna Tibbetts.

The Dart Hospitality Training Programme pilot was launched in 2022, with 12 successful graduates, most of whom secured employment at Dart-owned hotels. Four of the 2022 graduates recently celebrated one-year milestones in those jobs: Gerardo Clarke Rosales (Splash Park Attendant, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa), Ja’Shante Pearson (Food Runner, Hampton by Hilton, Grand Cayman), Petrice Williams (Guest Services Agent, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa) and Jaquan Wray (Busser, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa).

The application period for the next cohort of the Dart Hospitality Training Programme is expected to begin in the first half of 2024. For further information on the Dart Hospitality Training Programme visit: www.dart.ky/hospitality .

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