Month: February 2019
Tourism HR Canada congratulates the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick (TIANB) on the launch of its new program aimed at creating more qualified tourism professionals: Skills Gain.
The team at TIANB worked closely with staff from Tourism HR Canada to add a new online option to its existing Skills Gain workshops. The online format addresses industry feedback for a training program that can be accessed 24/7 and does not require travel and the associated expenses (gas, parking, mileage, etc.).
TIANB first hired Tourism HR Canada in 2014 to identify unmet training needs. Tourism HR Canada conducted market research, examining training practices used by businesses and training offered by educational establishments. As part of the project, researchers asked respondents to identify barriers and challenges to current training practices, areas requiring additional skills training, and perceived future workforce needs.
The team collected 174 completed surveys. The vast majority were from small businesses with fewer than ten employees. Just one-third of respondents reported having a training budget. Only about one-quarter offered a formal in-house training program, and very few purchased external training materials. Respondents also reported skills gaps in various functional areas, including general workplace knowledge, essential competencies, and occupation-specific skills.
In response to the survey feedback, TIANB secured funding to develop a series of workshops aligned with the specific needs identified by tourism operators. The organization engaged Tourism HR Canada to develop the resources. The focus: customer-service-related competencies reinforced by some specific occupational training. (Many occupation-specific training needs in the province were being met through Emerit’s nationally available training and certification resources.)
Over the past year, Tourism HR Canada and TIANB renewed their partnership, this time to augment the workshop resources with self-directed online modules covering the five core skill areas identified by industry:
- Customer service
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Thinking skills
With the launch of these Skills Gain modules, New Brunswick now has a tailored training solution offered in a flexible format to meet industry expectations.
To learn more about the program, please visit tianb.com.
To access the training, please visit emerit.ca.
The SMART accreditation program has hit another milestone: HT Hospitality Training becomes the first private institution to achieve the SMART+ distinction, highlighting the range of high-quality programming available to those wishing to start or further a career in tourism and hospitality.
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, since 2002, the hospitality training company offers short-term, hands-on courses for unemployed and underemployed individuals. The newly accredited programs are:
- Housekeeping Room Attendant
- Banquet Server, In-Room Dining, and Food & Beverage Server
- Front Desk Agent
Each one weaves together national occupational standards, transferable skills, job performance and health and safety standards, technical skills, and career planning. Students earn multiple certificates, including Emerit, First Aid/CPR, WHMIS, Smart Serve, and food safety.
“We are proud of this wonderful achievement. It affirms the work we have been doing, and we are hopeful that it will open up new opportunities for us to guide even more people in acquiring the essential skills, information, and connections to start a solid career in hospitality and tourism, while serving the needs of our industry partners,” said Norman McEvoy II, President and Director of Operations, HT Hospitality Training.
The team ensures programming keeps pace with evolving industry skill requirements. Staff members must have tourism experience. They are well connected with the local sector and actively seek feedback to reflect current practices in their courses. Past students and tourism employers visit classes to share their employment journeys.
Experiential learning is a priority. Each student completes a supervised three-week placement at an area property, allowing them to apply their learning firsthand and experience how key transferable skills such as customer service, teamwork, and communications play out on the job. Students graduate well placed to gain employment—and economic independence—upon completion of their program.
HT Hospitality Training follows a Social Purpose Business model. Its mandate is to effect change by making a positive impact on students and society by placing vulnerable clients in established, permanent positions in Ottawa’s thriving hospitality sector. Its long-standing funding partnerships ensure students can access the courses at no cost. Ongoing communication with area employers ensures the school focuses on occupations in need of staff and that students complete their training at peak hiring times.
Diversity is a key strength at HT Hospitality Training: students represent a wide variety of equity groups, fostering respect, teamwork, and open communication. They can access many supports to overcome challenges to completing their courses and gaining employment. Newcomers to Canada can arrange additional onsite language training. Program delivery methods are varied to cater to all learning styles. Staff consult with the Ontario Disability Support Program and social workers to provide an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Frequent student feedback identifies further areas for assistance.
“HT Hospitality Training is known for its practical, tailored learning experiences aimed at helping newcomers and others get meaningful tourism jobs,” stated Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada. “Our sincere congratulations to the team on its dedication to creating a skilled tourism labour force and empowering its students to reach their education and employment goals.”
The Destination Employment project aims to help unemployed and underemployed newcomers secure well-paid, stable, long-term hotel jobs. Equally important is developing a sustainable, systemic model for employment programming—one that leads to economic and social benefits for newcomers and employers and increased collaboration among community-based service providers and stakeholders.
A joint initiative of Tourism HR Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada, this three-year pilot project is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and coordinated by partners in five regions across the country.
Throughout the Maritime provinces, employers and organizations have expressed strong interest in Destination Employment. As the coordinating body for the region, the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council (NSTHRC) has been actively conducting outreach to newcomer organizations and accommodation operators.
“Similar to businesses across the country, tourism operators in the Atlantic region are facing chronic shortages of labour,” says Darlene Grant Fiander, NSTHRC Executive Director. “This is affecting their ability to deliver consistent high-quality guest service and impacting business and community growth. The Destination Employment program fills a valuable need for accommodation operators in connecting them to a previously underutilized labour pool. Many of these newcomers will play an important role in positioning the industry for positive growth over the coming years.”
Key partners in the Destination Employment initiative in Atlantic Canada include:
- Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
- Western Regional Enterprise Network
- Valley Regional Enterprise Network
- New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training & Labour
- Multicultural Association of Fredericton (MCAF)
- PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada
To recruit potential newcomer participants, NSTHRC has been holding information sessions with settlement associations, government agencies, and Regional Enterprise Networks in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland and Labrador has an existing program underway; where appropriate, Destination Employment will be offered as an aligning support resource.
Newcomer recruitment sessions were held throughout January in collaboration with two key partners: ISANS in Halifax and MCAF in Fredericton. Over 50 enthusiastic newcomers attended the Fredericton session, seeking information about eligibility requirements, the types of positions available, the typical hours of work, and participating hotels. In February, additional newcomer outreach sessions are scheduled for Charlottetown and Moncton.
NSTHRC recently marked an exciting milestone, successfully placing its first Destination Employment employee with the Atlantica Hotel Halifax. The Atlantica has a history of hiring newcomers through the ISANS Immigrant Youth Employability Program. This successful hiring of newcomers highlights the property’s welcoming environment, employee support network, and opportunities for advancement—the key attributes Destination Employment is looking for in employers.
NSTHRC is currently exploring programming opportunities with newcomer groups to provide classroom and skills-based training in advance of hiring opportunities.
For more on opportunities to get involved with the Destination Program in Atlantic Canada, please visit tourismhrc.com.