The Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI) will, once again, open its doors to train young minds in the field of hospitality.
This new school year will see a surge in student enrolment as, for the first time in four years, the number of applicants has exceeded expectations.
Student & Academic Affairs Manager Patrice Jacobs credits this to an increasing interest in the various areas of hospitality as well as the efforts made to advertise what the ABHTI offers.
“We set a target goal of 80 new students but we have received applications from more than 100 prospective students desirous of pursuing an associate degree in an area of hospitality. As a matter of fact, many of the applicants found out about the entry requirements and deadline via the institution’s Facebook page and quite a number of them were late applicants,” she said.
Jacobs also noted that the institute held two orientation sessions for new and returning students. During the session for returning (second year) students, those in attendance were given the opportunity to share their experiences about the on-the-job training received at numerous resorts, hotels and other hospitality based organisations, on island.
One student, Leon Edwards shared how enlightening his experience as a trainee at the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association (AHTA) was.
“It was quite a different experience being on the other side of the hospitality industry, learning about employee relations and the like,” Edwards, one of the mature students said. The AHTA continues to support the institute in various ways to include scholarships and training.
Other students mentioned that training was an “eye-opening” experience about the standard of excellence and hard work that is really expected from an employee in the service-based industry. Jacobs went on to encourage them to stay the course and work even harder to complete their chosen program.
On the second day of orientation, the institute welcomed over 100 new students. The session, which lasted for about three hours, included an introduction to faculty and staff, updates on rules and regulations, a welcome address by the Student Government Organisation, a tour of the campus and picture taking for student identification cards.
There were a number of occasions on which the incoming students walked away with prizes for participating in games and answering trivia questions about the institute. Students were also treated to a fashion show highlighting the DO’s and DON’T’s relating to the student dress code.
Ken-Nya Thomas, one of the new students who will be pursuing studies in culinary arts, said that the orientation session was “both informative and fun”.
She added “the executive of the Student Government Organisation made me feel welcome and all seemed like very nice people.” When asked if she was looking forward to next week she responded “without a doubt.”
The Antigua & Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute offers associate degrees in culinary arts, resort management, food and beverage management, among others. There are certificate programs in basic cookery, food and beverage operations and reception sales.
The ABHTI, the premier hospitality and tourism training institution in the Eastern Caribbean continues to train individuals for excellence in tourism and hospitality.