Terrence Max, new director of STA |04 May 2021
Terrence Max is the new director of the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA).
This was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde in a general meeting with staff of the institution yesterday morning.
The meeting, which was also attended by principal secretary for tourism Sherin Francis, former PS Anne Lafortune, chairperson of the STA board and deputy director Brigitte Joubert, aimed to get staff engaged in discussions relating to the minister’s vision and mission for the institution, and a new way forward for the academy.
In his opening remarks, Minister Radegonde highlighted the urgency in adopting a new model for future endeavours, one which better responds to the demands of the market, and which delivers a quality labour force that is capable of delivering service to the expected standards for visitors.
“Everyone that you interact with today, is talking about the challenges that they face in recruiting and retaining staff. Review the mandate of the STA, and ask yourselves whether it should not be tweaked or rearranged, modified slightly, so we can ultimately provide the country, and tourism industry, as well as the economy, with the labour force that it requires. It is a big challenge, but what I can say on behalf of the leadership at the ministry level, we give you our full support at any time, because your success is the success of the ministry and the country,” Minister Radegonde said.
“There will be at ministerial level some readjustments and reorganisation, and Mrs Francis will be taking up the post of PS, and she and the team will help to restructure and reorganise to ensure that we deliver on the work we are doing in tourism,” Minister Radegonde stated.
Mr Max, who is vastly experienced both in the industry and academia, have been in academics for almost 12 years of his professional career, where he occupied various positions, prior to leaving in 2012. Over the years, he has held key management positions at esteemed tourism establishments, and has secured under his belt qualifications in hotel management, a bachelors degree in education, and a masters of science.
Addressing the employees with whom he will be working on a daily basis, Mr Max outlined three key focal points on which he wants to concentrate efforts in the immediate, and his vision to make the institution a reliable source for talent recruitment. Among the propositions he presented to staff are to review the selection and entry criteria so as to attract students with the right attitude, to engage with the Ministry of Education, the Seychelles Qualifications Authority (SQA) and other educational institutions so as to raise standards to meet industry standards.
Mr Max also asserted the necessity for closer collaboration and partnership with the industry, on the basis that the industry can play a more proactive role in student’s development. This will require evaluating and tailoring courses and programmes on offer to suit market demand, as well as collaboration with the Ministry of Employment.
With regard to what he expects from staff, Mr Max remarked that staff should be well-trained, committed and flexible, adding that “STA has to become the pathway to success for every young Seychellois”.
“It is over nine years since I left STA, and of course during my absence, I know that there has been a lot of developments, but my immediate aim is to conduct an assessment to see what has been done, and what position STA is at in this new environment that we are working in. I was in the industry, and I got a lot of experience, and with my experience in education, I think I can, along with the team here. It is a little hard to say what my immediate aim is as today is my first day, but my vision is for STA to concentrate on its mandate, and in my opinion, its mandate is to act as the environment whereby we enrol, we choose the positive elements to develop and form, to later occupy key positions in the industry. Our role is to produce quality local talents for industry.”
“I need to emphasise that STA cannot operate alone. STA is dependent on the demands of the industry. Based on the demands of the industry, we can tailor-make our programmes and master the demands. The industry is evolving, it is dynamic, and of course with the pandemic, the industry has reviewed its way of doing things, so we too need to change and evolve to meet their demands. So it involves teamwork, it involves other organisations, the Ministry of Education, SQA, schools, parents, stakeholders and of course industry, so we all participate together and see how we can bring the academy forward,” Mr Max noted.
Speaking to the media, he remarked that a major challenge in the tourism industry with the Covid-19 pandemic is the number of employees who have been made redundant, as well as more challenging operations on account of visitors being more demanding, necessitating a competent workforce.
Yesterday’s meet was also an opportunity for staff of the institution to voice their concerns and their own aspirations for the organisation.
In concluding, former PS Anne Lafortune was presented with a token of appreciation for her service and dedication towards the institution in former years.