More than 100 scholarships on offer for studies in the hospitality sector

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Minister of Tourism, Charles “Max” Fernandez
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

[email protected]

One hundred and twenty-five scholarships will be awarded to residents in Antigua and Barbuda who wish to pursue tourism-related studies.

The move, the first of its kind, is the brainchild of the Ministry of Tourism, which is partnering with the Ministry of Education and the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI).

Tourism Minister Charles Max Fernandez spoke about the initiative during his budget debate yesterday.

“We have agreed to fund 100 scholarships for persons in short courses annually starting with persons on the job programme who are desirous of moving on to work,” Fernandez said.

Those courses will be for about six weeks’ duration and participants will receive a certificate upon competition.

The other 25 scholarships will be afforded to those in the industry who wish to pursue studies leading to a degree or higher.

“We went to Cabinet last year to arrange for money to come from the Marketing Fund and this is one such area where we will be given Antiguans and Barbudans an opportunity to earn while they learn. It will not be a willy-nilly thing,” the minister of tourism said.

Meanwhile, Fernandez said despite the unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the ABHTI was able to enhance the delivery of its programme and student engagement in a number of areas.

He said the ABHTI pivoted to support remote or online delivery when face-to-face classes were suspended due to Covid-19, and so the students were able to keep abreast of their studies which made the return to face-to-face classroom environment seamless.

“ABHTI forged new collaborations with the Mill Reef Club and the Rotary Club of Antigua to secure 180 laptops for the students when laptops became a scarce commodity, and training was provided for the lecturers to ensure the optimal use of the Google Classroom. Students were challenged to become creative and innovative with their studies as they experienced first-hand the challenges presented to the tourism sector,” Fernandez added.

Additionally, he said the ABHTI continued to strive to create professional and relevant learning environments through internships with leading hotels and with the private sector and achieved an almost 50 percent success in placements for the students who completed their internships.

“In 2022, Mr Speaker, Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute will be focusing on course development for a wider range of personnel directly and indirectly employed within the industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, in relation to construction, Fernandez said the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority continued to administer the government’s Construct Antigua and Barbuda Initiative, approving a total of 118 CAB-I applications for a total construction value of approximately EC $33.9 million.

The approved projects included 101 new homes for a value of EC $31.6 million, with the remaining 17 projects representing renovations and expansions.

He said the Investment Authority facilitated the granting of concessions for 13 projects with an estimated capital investment of EC $46.7 million and providing 160 job creation opportunities.

These projects  according to Fernandez, included tourism development, property development, professional services and retail operations.

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