Learner Stories

No pause in training and upskilling for BEST tourism workers

A short three months after piloting world-class hospitality training in Barbados, Simeon Rosset, CEO and Head Butler of Rosset Bespoke Butlers and Rosset International Butler School (RIBS), is guiding new cohorts of Barbadian tourism teams– this time with the support of a UK-based Barbadian.

Greg Hill, Founder and President of the Royal Rum Society™

On February 12, the first cohort of 30 workers across four properties held a virtual graduation ceremony from training supported by the National Transformation Initiative (NTI) as part of the Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) Programme for the tourism sector. The programme reflects Government’s investment in the sector, that includes comprehensive training opportunities with local partners Barbados Community College and BIMAP, as well as the international RIBS, for re-engaged workers. As their employers support their continued engagement, the staff is training from their homes and workplaces throughout the national pause.

Implementation of the programme was swift due to the efforts the NTI, Rosset, and the Royal Rum Society. One unique offering in the training was a Rumsommer session. Greg Hill, Founder and President of the Royal Rum Society™, and Shane Thomas, a Barbadian Member, teamed up to train participants as part of the Rosset Butler and House Management Foundation Course. The online session focused on the basics of rum in the Rumsommer™ certification course. The three-hour rum session covered the various aspects of rum from sugar cane to the bottle.

UK-based Barbadian and Master Rummelier, Shane Thomas.

Hill and Thomas, Master Rummeliers®, were excited to bring the programme to the birthplace of rum.

“Barbados and the Royal Rum Society are a perfect match,” Hill commented. “Our Rummelier® programme has graduates from 17 countries around the world, each of whom is dedicated to educating the public about the rum spirit. To be able to bring part of the rum education programme to Barbados is amazing!”

The Society’s roots extend back over ten years to a group of rum lovers in Virginia, USA, who devoted themselves to the study and consumption of fine rums from around the world. In 2019, they developed the Rummelier Certification programme and completed the process of acquiring professional designation status from the US government.

Thomas added: “Barbados being the birthplace of rum, it is imperative that the island’s frontline hospitality staff are aware about rum and its integral part of Bajan culture, along with the island’s place in the international rum environment.”

CLASS IN SESSION: Ocean 2’s Darrien Toppin emerged top of his cohort of the Rumsommer session conducted by Greg Hill and Shane Thomas.

NTI Director Dr. Allyson Leacock expressed her pleasure at the initiative’s partnership with Barbadian Shane Thomas and the Royal Rum Society for this session: “We are delighted to bring this special Rumsommer session as part of our training for transformation with the Rosset International Butler School. NTI is committed to retooling and upskilling every Barbadian so we are globally fit for purpose. This session is one more step towards that goal.”

Other online training courses in Housekeeping for Room Attendants as well as for Middle Management also extend until April 2021, with over 1100 in line initially for diverse areas of training under the BEST programme.


NTI is part of Government’s Retraining and Retooling programme (ReRe), itself a construct within The Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) Programme.

“The Re-Re Program, which involves the Retooling, Empowering, Retraining and Enfranchising of workers has to be at the core of the International Monetary Funded (IMF) program over the next four years. This is the next phase of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program that is a comprehensive retraining of Barbadian workers in an effort to make the workforce “globally fit for purpose”.

The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley Q.C. M.P. Prime Minister of Barbados
September 18, 2018

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