CIIHMC launches in St Lucia

Headquartered in the south of the island, the Caribbean Institute of International Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts (CIIHMC), is now fully operational and ready to offer Saint Lucians and the wider region a range of customized training, academic programs and Professional Certifications in the area of hospitality for 2013 and beyond.
As a fully accredited hospitality training institution since 2011, CIIHMC registered its first student for a full time AHLEI program in 2012 in a Certificate of Specialization in Finance and Accounting and Managing Food and Beverages Services. Since then the institution has offered a number of training programs,” says Sameera Bhalla Chair of CIIHMC.
In describing the mission and mandate of the school further Ed Evans General Manager of CIIHMC says; “Our goal is to maximize individuals’ potential so that they recognize the opportunities within the industry and begin to grasp them as caring hospitality professionals.” “We also recognize that there is a need for greater emphasis to be placed on training in the areas of hospitality and customer service here in Saint Lucia and this is what will set us apart as we seek to become more competitive as a tourist and service based destination,” Evans adds.
Ahead of becoming a full-fledged training school, CIIHMC has over the years formed strategic partnership with some hotels here including Bel Jou Hotel and besides that hotel, has been offering its services to hospitality based organizations here like Ladera Resort and Spa, Anse Chastanet Hotel, Jade Mountain, Sandals Resorts International, Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority (SLASPA), Cox & Company, among others, offering customized technical and soft skills training programs to meet their needs.
The fully accredited CIIHMC, through AHLEI, which in turn is accredited by the American Council on Education (ACE), is registered with the Ministry of Education here. CIIHMC is also a member of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association and The Southern Tourism Development Corporation. It is also backed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) which is the largest Hotel Association in the world. The non-profit educational arm of AHLA is the Educational Institute (AHLEI), represented here by CIIHMC.
Recently, CIIHMC also received accreditation from Ofqual via its partner, The International Hospitality & Tourism Institute (IHTI), offering courses that will be recognized and accredited in the European Union (EU). IHTI specializes in short face to face executive seminars and distance learning programmes for individuals currently in the industry; and 2 week to 2 year programmes with progression to Bachelors and Masters Degrees for those seeking hospitality, tourism, or culinary academic qualifications.
All training courses are recognized by industry and educational institutions worldwide thereby transferable as credits for further education in several countries including the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Indonesia, amongst others. AHLEI is also the major training partner for Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and is recognized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
“Quite apart from our accreditation and the partnering with AHLEI and IHTI, this institution has within its core a number of facilitators and trainers who are hospitality professionals from Saint Lucia that have been part of the industry.  With their operational know how they have been able to translate that to our students,” Sameera Bhalla says. “CIIHMC also actively ensures that their trainers are current and up to date in the international hospitality education & operational standards,” she adds. Recently, two of their facilitators successfully completed the iCHTE Bronze Assistant Professor in Hospitality and Tourism Program, and have received International Standards Compliant qualification in teaching and training in the lifelong learning sector.
Ed Evans also believes that CIIHMC has some truly caring trainers who are able to provide students with the hands on training. “All our training is hands on, done in real life hospitality settings. The students get that first experience so that when they actually go out there into the field of work, they are able to integrate seamlessly into the work place,” Evans says.
Additionally, CIIHMC has begun to assist with job placements and career advice and coordinating with several hospitality organizations.                 Presently, CIIHMC offers associates degrees, diplomas and certificate courses in various areas of hospitality. In the coming months the training institution will be providing short single course certification in the areas of security and culinary arts. CIIHMC will also be offering courses in Front Office, House Keeping, Food and Beverage Hospitality and Food and Beverage Management as well as other aspects of the hospitality industry. Training, property management and consultancy are also offered to various organizations seeking to improve their operations and staff skills and advancement.
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