More than 90 Bermudians will make up staff, who will come in for an intensive hospitality training course before the new St Regis Hotel opens in May.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday (March 11) to discuss the first phase of recruitment for the St George’s resort, PLP Junior Minister of Labour, Arianna Hodgson said training starts at the end of this month.

She noted that the School of St Regis, a joint programme set up by the hotel and the labour ministry, includes online and face-to-face classes, in addition to on-the-job learning once the hotel opens.

“All teachings are designed to ensure the associates know the brand’s culture and that they are consistent with the delivery of services,” said Ms Hodgson.

“At the conclusion of the programme, the learning received will have enhanced the skills and knowledge required to drive business results and lead teams in a diverse and changing environment.”

She was joined by Premier David Burt, who said the casino licence for the hotel was not approved yet and he was unable to say when it would be.

“The regulatory authorities, such as the Bermuda Monetary Authority, and Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, are independent of the Government of Bermuda, so it would be inappropriate for me as a minister of Government or other persons who are engaged in the regulatory process to speak on that.”

Also on hand at the Cabinet Building was Jan Vanhaelewyn, the General Manager of St Regis and Laura Purroy, the General Manager of the parent firm Hotelco.

Mr Vanhaelewyn said at least half of the hotel’s rooms will be occupied during the hotel’s first ten days of business, which he said was “incredible for an opening hotel”.

He also stated that staff from the St Regis chain would travel to Bermuda to coach staff on the “values” of the group ten days before it opened.

Highlights of Senator Hodgson’s full statement:

The public will know that the Ministry of Labour’s overarching aim is the expansion of jobs and economic growth within Bermuda.

To that end, in the coming months, the St Regis Hotel will officially open for business. When it does, the initial opening phase will employ over 90 staff working in various capacities.

To ensure Bermudians can secure employment at the hotel, The Ministry of Labour has partnered with St Regis to offer Bermudians both training and employment opportunities.

1. Foundations of Excellence Learning and Development programs

One training opportunity is the Foundations of Excellence Learning and Development program, which will prepare Bermudians for roles in the organisation.

The program embodies the company’s core values of putting people first, which is at the forefront of everything they do.

In the first year of each associates learning journey, they will enrol in the “School of St. Regis”, which includes a wide variety of classroom, e-learning, and most importantly, on-the-job learning. All teachings are designed to ensure the associates know the brand’s culture and that they are consistent with the delivery of services.

At the conclusion of the program, the learning received will have enhanced the skills and knowledge required to drive business results and lead teams in a diverse and changing environment.

2. TakeCare Programme

Another training opportunity is the TakeCare Programme.

TakeCare represents Marriott International’s global commitment to promoting opportunity, community, and purpose for all.

Established in 2010 as a wellbeing initiative to give associates easy, efficient ways to improve their health, TakeCare now offers holistic programs that go beyond physical wellbeing. The programs offered include mental and emotional health, career development, financial planning, team building, recognition, sustainability and social impact, and many more.

With the large number of positions to be filled, a job fair is a standard practice whereby applicants would join together in one location to apply and interview for career opportunities. However, in light of the COVID-19 preventative measures in place, the recruitment process has shifted almost entirely online, with interviews scheduled only as necessary.

This approach is in line with the Government’s goal to contain the spread of COVID-19 while growing the economy and getting Bermudians reemployed.

Following a review of the submitted job applications, candidates will receive a personal telephone call or email advising of the next steps. If applicable (A-PLI-KABUL), the advice will also include scheduling on-property interviews.

We expect there to be tremendous interest on-island from individuals seeking to apply for the hotel jobs on offer.

While we have accomplished much, we must do more to support our people. The Government, however, cannot do it alone.

Our success as a country will only come about through collaboration and partnerships with local businesses, which will lead to more equitable and inclusive solutions for all.

With that in mind, I thank the team at St Regis for their commitment to the people of Bermuda.

Together we CAN and MUST do our part to create an environment that provides opportunities for Bermudians, especially our young people who have the skills needed to excel in the workplace.

It is through working together that Bermuda will see its best days.

In closing, I urge persons currently seeking employment to take advantage of the current and future opportunities by frequently visiting the and submitting applications for appropriate jobs.

I also encourage you to register with the Department of Workforce Development by emailing

Highlights of Premier Burt’s full statement:

While we have been navigating through the many challenges brought on by the pandemic, this Government focused on the health and well-being of the country, while also managing our economic recovery and supporting those most affected. Many of those severely impacted by the economic effects of the coronavirus work within our hospitality and tourism industry.

That is why today, I am delighted to support the Foundation of Excellence Learning & Development programmes, and the TakeCare Programme, as well as the creation of over 90 jobs at St Regis to help get Bermudians back to work, and excel in their careers.

The St Regis Hotel and Bermuda’s newest golf course, Five Forts Golf Club, is scheduled to open in May, and it is great to see this project nearing completion. This new hotel is welcoming news for Bermuda, especially for the historic town of St George’s.

The dynamic partnership between St Regis & the Ministry of Labour to train and employ Bermudians to work in their hotel and golf course is commendable, and the Government looks forward to seeing the positive results it will have for St. Regis, local Bermudians who are employed, and our visitors who will benefit from world-class service.

Predictably, the last year presented unprecedented challenges for the industry. Our hotel inventory was significantly reduced.

However, we anticipate better results in 2021, and with valuable partnerships such as the one we are highlighting today we are confident that we will emerge stronger.

As a country we recognize that in order to have a better year, we must remain a safe and healthy destination. I am confident that we will. We have a robust COVID testing regime and an aggressive vaccination programme, and we are using technology to ensure that Bermuda can return to normal and remain a safe island.

Persons worldwide want to travel, and as more and more of them get vaccinated, they will want to go somewhere that continues to safely and effectively manage the coronavirus. Bermuda is that safe destination, and with new developments such as St Regis, the hard work of our public officers, and the dedication of our hospitality and tourism professionals, the 2021 season will be a season of recovery.

I join the Junior Minister in encouraging Bermudians seeking employment to register with the Department of Workforce Development, visit their website, apply for the appropriate jobs and take advantage of the valuable training programmes and support that the Department of Workforce Development can provide.

I would like to make a personal note. People cannot imagine a more difficult time completing a hotel development, pushing forward with a hotel development and opening a hotel development at such a critical juncture. The Hotelco Bermuda Group has invested in this country, has supported this country, has supported the development of the town of St. George and are our excellent and amazing partners.

Laura (Purroy), on behalf of the Government of Bermuda, I would like to thank you and your family for the work and commitment of which you have made to this country. We are grateful for that investment and the government will continue to work with you to ensure that it works out well. It is a difficult time but the confidence of which you have shown will be matched by the confidence which we will continue to have with working with you.

Last year presented unprecedented challenges for the hospitality industry, but we are emerging stronger. Our island is slowly getting back to normal. Visitors will return, flights will increase, and the opening of St. Regis and its training and employment opportunities are a silver lining that indicates a brighter future ahead.

  • Top Feature Photo: E Michael Jones, Facebook