Customer service school to open in Dominica in September

Tony Paul, CEO of The Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Training School (CHTTS)

As of September 2021, a new customer service institution –  The Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Training School (CHTTS)- will officially be launched here in Dominica.

Located in Castle Comfort on the compound of the former Ever Green Hotel, the first-of-its-kind institute in Dominica aims to train employees or individuals in the tourism industry to improve their skills and/or acquire new ones.

Speaking during the official launching ceremony, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CHTTS, Tony Paul, said the idea was conceptualized to enhance quality in the workforce which he believes most institutions on island are severely lacking.

“If a hairdresser comes in, he or she will not have to go looking for staff, they will be training the students who they can use to work for them,” he explained. “For example, if someone wants to rent one of the rooms as an ice cream parlour, their trainees will learn everything from that certified individual from how to prepare a cone, how to make the ice cream, how to deal with customers. So, our goal is to make the school a hands-on approach.”

The businessman who describes himself as one who was born into tourism, revealed that he’s been pursuing this venture for over twenty years but it finally became a reality for him and his team three years ago when he purchased the Hurricane Maria-battered hotel from the Winstons.

The targeted age range, he says, is as early as 12 years old, as “someone is never too young or too old to learn something new.”

Proving an overview of how the certification will be awarded, Quality Assurance Consultant of the Dominica Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, Abraham Durand, reported that in 2006 CARICOM voted into being a certification for skills called the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ).

He said this qualification commences with level one directly supervised/or entry level worker, level two, supervised skilled worker, three, independent or autonomous skilled worker, while level four represents specialized or supervisory worker and five managerial and/or professional worker.

Therefore, each instructor will be required to be certified at least two levels above the people which he or she will be training and will also need to be experienced in their field of studies.

According to Durand, The CVQ  certification is aimed at preparing the candidates for the work environment and the closer one can simulate that work environment, the more effective your training is going to be.

“So the CVQ certification is looking more towards what the candidate can do, and how well the candidate can think on their feet, how well can they make decisions, and how well can they innovate the three main elements that the assessor is looking for,” he stated.

While the school isn’t the first in the region, Durand noted that it is new to Dominica, therefore, requires the effort of all stakeholders to make it a success, especially given that the council that will be providing supervision is still in its infancy.

For her part, Executive Director of the TVET Council in Dominica, Paula Seraphin, explained that the certification that each student will be awarded will be recognized and respected throughout the Caribbean and in many parts of the world.

“And so, this will empower Dominicans further whether you have a Master’s or a degree or whatever, being the holder of a CVQ certification empowers you to also move around the region because CSME has made provision for CVQ holders to work in any CARICOM island” she stated. “This is indeed unprecedented and it is a great happening here in Dominica.”

She is hopeful that the Dominica TVET Council, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, will be empowered by their parent Ministry to deliver the CVQ certification soon.

Events Coordinator at the Dominica Festival Committee (DFC) Marva Williams congratulated Paul and his team and highlighted the need, given the advent of social media, for customer service to be placed at the forefront for island that relies heavily on the tourism industry.

She said in light of the increase in hotels, the new hospital and the upcoming international airport, now more than ever there is a higher demand among the tourists for quality customer service.

Given the business motto, “the customer is always right,” Williams believes that training such as what is being provided by the school will not only enhance the business sector but will also boost Dominica’s rating.

“This school will help to advance the hospitality industry and not only the hospitality industry but so many other industries that tourism itself depends on to thrive. It will help to solidify that we indeed are the nature island, that we are friendly and we can provide quality, friendly and customer-oriented care and services to people coming into Dominica,” she stated.

Project Officer for the Eastern District In the Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment Eldorado Ducreay is hoping that the new school will help to address one of the major challenges which the craft industry, especially in the Kalinago Territory, faces and that is the authentication of projects.

He said they are considering the introduction of certification for people in the craft industry for people in the craft industry which will enable them to verify the product with the barcode and authenticate it as Dominican thereby eliminating copying of the product.

Ducreay indicated that all certifications will be available online to avoid many of the challenges faced with only being handed a hard copy.

Classes are expected to commence in early September with a total of 100 students.

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11 Comments

  1. If we knew better
    July 28, 2021

    for me, customer service training starts at home. Customer service is basic manners, etiquette, consideration, empathy, and willingness to help. SERVICE! Many in customer service positions have a sense of entitlement, ego and laziness.

    I have known of many who have received training after training after training in customer service and customer relations, but their personalities have been the biggest hindrances.

    To my knowledge Tony is into interior decor and event planning. Never knew him to be involved in Customer Service training.

    • Bruce
      July 29, 2021

      Thinking about it, you are actually right on the money!

  2. July 28, 2021

    Congratulations on achieving this initiative. It definately is needed.

    I often think that we black people see service as slavery, hence the sour attitude when dealing with customers. Treating others in the ways you want to be treated is so important for good customer service.

    I believe this new institution and its values will positively influence how people perform in customer-facing roles, whether in-person, via telephone or in writing.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  3. %
    July 27, 2021

    Other than in tourism, customer service is extremely poor in Dominica…You are largely ignored by those paid to deliver services to you..Some employees even when they are largely free, keep you waiting while they are chatting with friends. That’s an old style employers need to stop. While talking to you, some are texting. Many “cut you eyes”, and appear “boo way” when you ask questions. If you smile to some of them, they ignore you even more. Some don’t even answer your good morning or afternoon, etc, etc, etc.. Some of you may hate what i have written, but its the truth.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  4. Lin clown
    July 27, 2021

    I agree with PRO 110% they are not only rude but lazy and lying.Some of them can be seen on the phone GOSSIPING while the customer is waiting.They lie and say the manager is not in office because they are too lazy to take a document to him to be signed.These people have no idea it is the customer paying their bills if they do they don’t care.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8
    • VereTere
      July 28, 2021

      The rudest ones by far are those that work for the government and its agencies. They know that they have a job as long as they do as told on Election Day. It’s as simple as that and it’s a very sad state of affairs.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  5. Michael
    July 27, 2021

    I welcome this initiative. It is very much needed. However, I would like to see training extended to other service areas on the island.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  6. Kumbaya
    July 27, 2021

    I hope the public sector workers especially those who work at government headquarters will be part of the first group of students

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0
  7. Goodwill
    July 27, 2021

    Congratulations Tony Paul. Very good venture. Wish you every success since this training is badly needed in Dominica. I do hope it will result in better service in the hospitality sector and other sectors .

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0
  8. PRO
    July 27, 2021

    FINALLLY!!!

    Dominicans need to learn about customer service, and not just in tourism but in all industries. It always blows my mind that people … while at their job, can be so rude to customers.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0
    • July 27, 2021

      It is all over. Even in big, advanced America. They are rude also and disgusting. They don’t even want to listen to you. Some don’t even answer you properly and correctly. It is a sad world we live in.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

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