Even in the midst of a dark cloud, there can still be silver linings. This has indeed been the reality for 22-year-old Kadian Newman from Parottee District in St. Elizabeth. During a time when companies are downsizing and jobs are being lost, Kadian has been offered a job as a general cashier at the 392-room luxury included Sandals South Coast.
Having previously held contract positions, Newman sees this permanent assignment as a pivotal career move.
The Black River High graduate notes that even while attending school she was very good at Accounting and that her teacher encouraged her to pursue further studies in that area. “I’ve always seen myself in an administrative role,” says Kadian. “But I didn’t want to box myself in or perhaps I was a bit fearful so I instead sought to pursue another passion of mine – cooking,” she said. Armed with eight CXC subjects, she enrolled at the Black River South West Training & Vocational Centre (Heart) to pursue certification in commercial food preparation III.
In 2018, after completing her certification, Kadian registered for the Hospitality Training programme (HTP) at Sandals South Coast with intentions of training in the resort’s kitchen operations. But it was not to be as she fell ill just prior to the start of the programme and found herself unable to manage the hectic schedule in the kitchen. “I decided instead to train in the resort’s Human Resource’s department after hearing a presentation about the department’s role.”
Kadian trained in Human Resources for six weeks as a part of the HTP Programme. With no permanent position available at the end of her training, she took on a number of temp jobs – first as a relief Linen Room Controller working mostly at nights. “I did that job for approximately six months,” said Newman. She later returned for a role in the Human Resources department and did that for three months.”
Stints followed as a relief culinary concierge in the Food and Beverage department and at one point Newman held dual roles as a relief Food and Beverage Administrator and Culinary Concierge. “This was a very challenging but great opportunity as the administrative side of food and beverage was still very new to me, but I quickly found my feet and started to excel.”
Newman recalled, with only a month left on her contract in Food and Beverage, when she learnt of the hotel’s impending closure due to COVID-19. “I was devastated,” she said, “I felt as though I had just started to put things in perspective on how I would progress in my career, which path I needed to take.”
With some money in her bank account and a clearer vision in her head, Newman notes that just prior to the lockdown she had mustered up the courage to apply for the University of the Caribbean Commonwealth (UCC) and was accepted to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting and Financial Management. “The timing for the closure could not have been worst,” she said.
Being a God-fearing young woman, however, Newman was not about to get swallowed up in hopelessness. She notes that during the COVID-19 lockdown she had a lot of time to reflect on her life’s journey while just being thankful.
“I have been grateful for the opportunity to work in different departments and positions. I’m a lot more rounded now as a hospitality professional than I could have ever dreamed to be back in 2018,” says Newman, who admits that she has also found a second family at Sandals South Coast.
“But perhaps above all I believe God’s timing is perfect,” says Newman. “I always believed he would provide the right job at the right time.”
On October 1, 2020, Sandals South Coast reopened its doors but due to low bookings not all team members were called back right away. Newman says she later heard of openings for different positions at the resort but though she was anxious to start working again, she was also intent on waiting for the right position, the one that would set her on the path to achieving her long-term goals. “When I heard of the General Cashier position in the resort’s Accounts department, I knew that was the one,” she said.
Eleven days following the resort’s reopening, Newman returned to work once again and this time it wasn’t a temporary position, it was an answered prayer.
“I’m truly elated to be working in the Accounts department at Sandals South Coast, says Newman, my fellow colleagues have been nothing but supportive and I am confident that I’ve made the right decision.”
Newman intends to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree at UCC in 2021. She says she remains grateful to Sandals for all the opportunities it has provided for her and all the encouragement from her fellow team members and managers. “Sandals is an awesome company,” says Newman. “It has shown me the importance of being a team player while giving me the courage to pursue my individual dreams and with this latest opportunity I intend to do just that.”