Smile is your greatest asset, PEP’s Deputy Chair tells hospitality trainees

Basseterre, St. Kitts (June 4, 2013) — Ms Sharon Rattan, Vice Chair of People Employment Programme’s (PEP) Management Committee, has commended the twenty trainees in hospitality trades at Challengers Community Centre for the positive attitude they have exhibited as they undertake the six-month training being offered by the programme.

Ms Rattan who was the guest speaker at a luncheon dubbed Elegantly Kittitian, held last week Tuesday (May 28), hosted by the trainees under the supervision of their facilitators, Mr Michael Guishard and Mr Patrick Browne, said that she was greatly impressed by the warm and genuine smiles exuded by the trainees as they welcomed guests.

“I was very pleased as we were greeted with a very warm smile, and I think that is a very important place to start,” said Ms Rattan. “The smiles were very welcoming and they were very warm, and that is a very important part of service. You could see that the young ladies here today are very eager and they are very proud of what they are doing, and I think that they have done a good job.”

Ms Rattan, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Community and Social Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, had attended the luncheon representing PEP’s Management Committee’s Chair, Mr Elvis Newton, who was overseas on state matters. She was accompanied by Mrs Atasha Morton-Skeete, Executive Assistant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“It is important for us to come and observe and be part of what you are doing,” Ms Rattan told the trainees. “I will tell you what I was struck by upon coming here: I was greeted with warm smiles and that is the greatest asset you can have. I was also impressed by how you are attired.”

Joining Ms Rattan at the luncheon was a team from the People Employment Programme Secretariat at Dorset, led by Project Manager Mr Geoffrey Hanley. They included Consultant Ms Telly Onu, Training Coordinator Mrs Celia Christopher, Office Manager Mrs Agatha Caines, and Payroll Officer Ms Kenisha Fyfield.

Mr Geoffrey Hanley told the trainees that they had greatly impressed him and commented that the funds being used to train them was money well spent.

“I want to congratulate all of you, as you have been doing a very good job,” said Mr Hanley. “As for the facilitators, we are extremely proud of the work that you have been doing, and by extension the National Skills who initially started this training.”

He pointed out that due to hard work they had put in the various training areas, the trainees had impressed restaurant owners, some of whom had already selected a number of trainees to attach them to their businesses. He advised the trainees to continue with the same attitude even when they are outside the training ground.

“They (restaurateurs) are still going to have their eyes on the rest of you,” advised Mr Hanley. “So I encourage you to continue to impress them and call them when you see them and remind them that they were at Elegantly Kittitian Restaurant in Challengers and you just want to follow up to find out if they are still impressed.”

Guests at the luncheon included top restaurateurs, among them Mr Alex James of Serendipity, Mr Ericson Browne of Christophe Harbour, Mr Jason Pereira of Reggae Beach Restaurant, and Mr Verral Marshall of Marshall’s Restaurant. Also invited was a leading taxi operator Ms Marlene Greene.

The National Skills Training Programme (NSTP), which is assisting with the implementation and coordination of the skills training aspect of the People Employment Programme, was represented by the acting director Mrs June James, and Mr Esinton Watts and Ms Elzeva Cuffy.

Explaining why restaurateurs had been invited to the luncheon, Mrs James said that the People Employment Programme believes in working closely with the industry.

“We do not want to train in a vacuum, for we invited you here to showcase what we have been doing as we get your input as to improvement for the future,” said Mrs James. “We are training persons here for the industry and it is very imperative that we get your input, so we thank you very much.”

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