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Oct 18, 2012

B.T.B. sponsors hair braiders training

Hair braiding is a budding business in the tourism industry.  At the ITVET Compound in Belize City today, a two day interactive training session for twenty-three hair braiders from the Fort Street Tourism Village Zone was held.  The Belize Tourism Board organized the training session, in which the hair braiders are learning about etiquette, health and safety and job hazards. The training is also providing them with a firsthand approach to professionalism as the entrepreneurs are among the first to greet tourists. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Twenty-three hair braiders are taking a training course at the ITVET courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board. The two-day training is focused on marketing strategies, branding and best practices in customer relations; and will provide the entrepreneurs with the basic skills to marketing their product. Perry Bodden of the Quality Assurance Department of B.T.B. says that the goal is to create a standard for the hair braiders.

 

Perry Bodden Jr.

Perry Bodden Jr., Representative, Quality Assurance Department, B.T.B. 

“We are in charge to have the best historic experience possible and that is what we are trying to do out at the Fort Street Tourism Village and this is how we can start out—with the hair braiders—and we will move on from there. We are trying to make them well-rounded to deal with tourist; to deal with whatever they are doing to enhance their skills on a whole.  We are working on some minimum standards for the hair braiders as well so this information we will compile from this training, we are going to enhance the minimum standards that we are working on right now. And then tomorrow we will have more of a practical session.”

 

Facilitator, Mapye Smith, has been in the grooming business for the past twenty-five years. Smith says the training is two-fold.

 

Mapye Smith

Mapye Smith, Facilitator/Trainer

“We have to make sure that the young ladies know what is expected, the requirements and the consequences. And so I think they are quite aware. We are trying to bring to them that they are the face of Belize; they are the first ones you see when you get off the ship; what is expected. And a lot of them really want better.  The image is so important. You have to have a professional image. We don’t want them to dress anyways like they are in an office—they are outside in the heat—but they must have a professional image and they must have a more professional attitude. And I think one or two people give the whole industry a bad name.  What will be a suitable uniform for them; what is the look that they want and they way they speak and the way they approach the tourists and those type of things are very important today.”

 

Perry Bodden Jr.

“Today we are doing the theory section of it, some marketing strategies; how to market themselves. Actually right now we are going through the process of just listening to them; hear their opinions on some matters and concerns out at the Fort Street Tourism Village.”

 

The braiders say that the training will help them to improve their hair-braiding skills and better their image.

 

Ruth Smith

Ruth Smith, Hair Braider

“It’s a nice experience; we get to meet a lot of people—a lot of nice people. And at the end of the day, our customers, our priority, we make sure they of back feeling happy and they do a really good write up about the hair-braiders. We need to conduct ourselves too. That’s value to me more than our money and how we approach the people. Probably we need to approach them in a better way or form so that they take back whatever experience in Belize with the hair-braiders they will take back.”

 

Claire Williams

Claire Williams, Hair Braider

“We gonna learn about different styles. The beautiful Mapye Smith is teaching us about our facial structure and what type of hairstyle matches our facial structure because that plays a very important role. You have to learn how to present yourself to people. It doesn’t matter if we are on the street; we have to be professional because our first impression is the lasting one.”

 

At the conclusion of the training on Friday, all participants will receive a Certificate and a Hair Braiding Kit which will include some hair care products and sanitizers. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Follow up training will be carried out to further assist the braiders.

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