A select group of Barbadian hospitality professionals are on the way from good to great in their chosen careers.
That door was opened for 12 Barbadians from five properties – Blue Sky Luxury, Mango Bay Resort, Hilton Barbados Resort, Oceans Two Resort and Residences, and Seabreeze Residences, Sandy Lane, and Jennifer Alleyne Villa Management – who formed the original cohort in a pilot project hosted by the National Transformation Initiative (NTI), in association with partner agencies.
The 12, along with a 13th trainee, an international student who travelled from the United Kingdom on her own resources, received international gold standard professional butler and house management training from global expert Simeon Rosset, of Scotland. He is CEO and Head Butler of Rosset Bespoke Butlers and Rosset International Butler School (RIBS).
The opportunity was facilitated through a joint initiative of the NTI, Invest Barbados, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council Barbados, and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, in which Mr. Rosset visited Barbados to conduct the four-week pilot. It is intended that a future longer-term arrangement will emerge with Mr. Rosset investing in the first-of-its-kind Caribbean RIBS headquartered in Barbados. That pilot followed an initial one-day training session, also hosted by the NTI, for the benefit of the small west coast grill, Gazebo at Payne’s Bay, St. James.
The daily month-long training included trainees’ exposure to the historic value of rum distilleries in Barbados and the skills in rum tasting and appreciation, dinner service, house management and other services for high net worth individuals and VIP clients.
The NTI, with support from its partners, was therefore particularly pleased to engage with Simeon Rosset. Director of the NTI, Dr. Allyson Leacock, believes the Rosset model is a refreshingly novel approach to critical face-to-face training that effectively complements the online training, which the NTI launched in June in response to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in Barbados.
“Since September, the NTI has been engaged in helping companies prepare tourism-specific training plans as part of Government’s Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) programme.
“This pilot training underscored the importance of people, partnerships and passion for professionalism providing the opportunity to offer something new. It highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of our approaches to training and demonstrated that we do not need to be wedded to the traditional rigid approach to training in order to exemplify the highest standards in a relaxed, non-judgmental approach,” asserted Dr. Leacock.
She thought it was instructive to hear the comments of participants: “Trainees unanimously lauded Simeon’s respect for them and his skilful instruction ensuring their attention to detail through their homework assignments as well as the dynamic role play and real life exercises to sharpen competencies in a memorable and transformative way.”
In assessing the importance of training at all levels, the NTI Director opined that “the training ought not to be seen as only for staff but rather a call-to-action for management teams to themselves undergo and appreciate the breadth and depth of the training. Too often we train staff and their enthusiasm is stymied when they return to work because a supervisor or manager is less than supportive of them. If we are serious about being best-in-class, we all need to retool,” Dr. Leacock explained. “And it is a never-ending commitment.”
This point was supported by Mr. Rosset. In a recent 2020 issue of Polo and Luxury Coffee-table Book, Rosset, whose institution is accredited in the United Kingdom and Europe with joint accreditation with Federation of International Butlers (USA) and Latin America, emphasised the value of comprehensive butler training and prized traits for persons in such service. Throughout his training in Barbados, he stressed that comprehensive training belies the narrow stereotype associated with butlers and others in the hospitality industry.
“The greatest skill of a modern butler is not strength or intelligence but adaptability. Every butler or house manager must be in a constant state of self-improvement and situational awareness. …You can never truly master the skill because you will always find more to learn, ways to improve your skills and new skills to learn.”
About Simeon Rosset
In the 16 years since starting his career at Leeds Castle where he worked as Head Butler, Simeon Rosset has gone on to work as an exclusive international Butler working in castles, shooting estates, super yachts and palaces across Europe. In that time, he has worked for “A” list celebrities, royalty, dukes and duchesses, oil companies and banks, serving people such as HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), HRH The Princess Alexandra of Kent, tenor Luciano Pavarotti, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.