SMILE Starts Enrollment of Free Summer Employment Courses


June 28, 2023  -As of this week, enrollment has started for the St. Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-Up Event (SMILE) Summer Employment Course program. A first group of registrants applied today for the series of masterclasses intended to improve the skills of job seekers in order to enter or re-enter the labor market.

The nine-part course is organized by the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) with the support of the National Employment Services Center (NESC) and Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR). The free course series includes an in-depth coaching program, carefully designed to empower job seekers with the skills and confidence needed to thrive in today’s competitive labor market, ending with match-making efforts with businesses and NGOs on the SMILE event on October 27th and 28th.

The Summer Course will be provided by St. Maarten business and HR experts. Juliet Hassell and Rachael Geerlings of Progressional People Caribbean (PPC) will inspire people how to increase their job market value and explore what codes of conduct are in place in the private sector. Sergio Wolff (Purpose Hospitality & Training) will do a summary in multiple sessions of his customer service insights. John Sandiford of Antonio Media will provide a course on managing personal finances in the challenging times looking (and starting) a job. Sessions on resume and motivation writing, self-presentation and elevator pitch training will be brought by Krystal Wanga (HR Strategic Elements).

The course will run for nine consecutive Tuesdays from 4 to 7 pm. As the coaching groups will be compact, and personal and include practical exercises, only limited seats are available. Interested job seekers are recommended to contact SHTA well before the deadline of July 4th.

The courses partially serve as preparation for the St. Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-Up Event (SMILE) on October 27th / 28th, which will have a job fair component and allows for an opportunity for those following the courses to put the newly learned skills in practice by meeting the over 100 organizations present. Participants will have the unique opportunity to engage with prospective employers on the SMILE event grounds during the forum, opening doors to many career possibilities.

SHTA expresses its appreciation to the R4CR for their invaluable collaboration in making the SMILE Job Fair and is summer job courses a reality. The R4CR program, financed by the Government of the Netherlands through the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, is administered by the World Bank and implemented by the NRPB (National Recovery Program Bureau). Locally, the VNGI (International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities) manages the R4CR program in close cooperation with the 4C Foundation and other local partners.

SMILE calls on job seekers and companies looking for employees to contact before the deadline of July 4th. SMILE also thanks its 2023 supporters Grant Thornton St. Maarten, Dynaf SXM, The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport (MECYS), the Bureau of Intellectual Property and the University of St. Martin for supporting SMILE’s fourth edition.


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