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Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00

Refurbished PCC Old Harbour Campus HTM Centre opened

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Portmore Community College board chairman Karl Henlin (left) and Dr Claudette Clarke, head of Region Six, Ministry of Education conduct the symbolic ribbon cutting while Sheril Ramsaroop, campus director and principal Corrine Richards (right) observe Portmore Community College board chairman Karl Henlin (left) and Dr Claudette Clarke, head of Region Six, Ministry of Education conduct the symbolic ribbon cutting while Sheril Ramsaroop, campus director and principal Corrine Richards (right) observe Photo: Contributed

Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) is the flagship programme at the Old Harbour Campus of the Portmore Community College.

And one could see why that is the case during their April 20 grand official reopening of its Hospitality and Tourism Centre, refurbished at an estimated cost of over $2 million – all funded from the schools’ tuition purse, conceptualized and managed by the HTM final year students.

Though it was a difficult task initially, the students will leave the college with a great sense of accomplishment, says Latoya Williams, one of the chief planners.

“At least we have left a mark. We did something to market the school even more,” Williams, who is among a batch of 38 students, told Old Harbour News following the conclusion of the official ceremony and a tour of the facility.

She added: “We didn’t have to depend on government to do it, which would not have been a bad idea, but at least we can work off what we had. It’s a lot of work… we didn’t have tiles in place, now we have tiles. The only thing we need now is an awning to bring it off, but we will get there. Hopefully we will get some sponsorship.”

Photo: Contributed

The renovated facility comprises a flat, a restaurant which has been operating since January offering takeout and dining services, and a bar. All things being equal, a mini conference room will be added.

The project was used as a practicum for the students, which provides an ideal setting in preparing them for the world of work in the hospitality and tourism sector.

“It speaks to commitment, dedication, hard work, and that goes for everybody: students and staff both present and past. It speaks to a spirit that is embodied in Portmore Community College in that we work together to make things better. It is more than just a job. It is a commitment to excellence. It is a commitment to allowing persons who might not have been able to access tertiary or post-secondary education to get a degree that is recognized and accredited,” said PCC principal Corrine Richards.

For the moment the restaurant is open once per week, providing students with invaluable real work experience. According to Richards, the college prepares its students for the global marketplace and is already looking to strengthen its foreign language programme to give each graduate a competitive advantage.

Photo: Contributed

Such an advantage could be realized sooner and closer to home here in Old Harbour, with key stakeholders working towards establishing the area as a community tourism destination on the island.

It is a vision that the PCC unreservedly supports.

“I’m a big believer in community tourism. Our rural communities are rich in heritage, rich in culture, and personally I think that we (Portmore Community College) need to focus a lot more on that as we go forward,” said Richards.

Special commendations were reserved for Williams and the event management team, teacher Omar Frith, and Sheril Ramsaroop who is the campus director.

School board chairman Karl Henlin and former principal Karen Hewitt-Kennedy participated in the symbolic ribbon cutting exercise.

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