Tenille, Get Hired
Having studied hospitality and tourism, Tenille (26) was keen to work in that sector – one of Barbados’ strongest industries. After struggling to find work, she signed up to our Get Into Hospitality programme.
Get Into is an employer-led training course, developed by Prince’s Trust International and delivered in Barbados by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Community Empowerment. The content is designed in partnership with local employers and varies depending on the sector, covering a mixture of general employability skills and sector-specific knowhow.
Tenille credits the programme with developing her teamwork and communication skills, especially building her confidence around public speaking. But soon after she completed the course, the coronavirus pandemic hit. Lockdown forced cafes, restaurants and hotels to close their doors, and wiped out Tenille’s chance of finding work in that industry.
She remembers lockdown as a difficult and stifling time. ‘It was ok at first, then it felt suffocating because everyone was at home,’ she recalls. But Tenille didn’t give up on finding work. When restrictions eased and she heard about a second programme, Get Hired, which would build on her previous training, Tenille jumped at the chance to get involved.
‘It was just a hands-down yes,’ she explains, ‘That was really a shining light in the dark.’
Although lockdown had affected tourism and hospitality particularly badly, other sectors were still actively recruiting for entry-level positions – including those which have a similar focus on customer service and communication skills, such as insurance.
Get Hired matches work-ready young people with employers who have vacancies, after a short bespoke training course. As well as supporting young jobhunters to hone their CVs and develop their interview skills, each Get Hired course also provides a basic introduction to the sector and employers.
‘It helped in terms of how to communicate better and we also had a session on how to speak to customers and how you can improve in terms of handling difficult customers.’
Participants are guaranteed an interview, and the preparation work helps to set them up for success – Tenille is one of three young people from her cohort who went on to join the Insurance Corporation of Barbados.
As a customer services adviser, Tenille draws daily on her communication and teamwork skills, and is thriving. Within months of starting her job, Tenille was the first winner of her employer’s Call Centre Ace award, which recognises outstanding achievement at work. In future, Tenille is keen to move up into a management position as she continues to apply her learnings from the Get Into programme.
‘It has definitely helped me in my work now because currently we’re on a team and something doesn’t go right it affects the whole team. It’s definitely good for building skills.’