An Advanced Technician Certificate (BTS) in Hotels and Catering available in the fall


The Guadeloupe superintendent of schools confirmed it during his visit in Saint-Martin on June 16: a BTS will be created in the territory for the next school year. A way to solve the lack of local higher education, while building on the territory’s strengths, which are tourism and multilingualism. "This is a first-time event in the territory and a strong signal that we’re giving to our youth: the opportunity to get an education close to home" said Aline Hanson on Wednesday, June 29. This morning, the Collectivité hosted a press conference to announce the opening of the Hotel, Catering and Tourism Industry Center of Excellence. This project, whichthe President of the Republic supported during his visit on May 8, 2015, is being led by the Ministry of National Education in partnership with the Collectivité, the Greta and the hotel and restaurant association.  


The BTS is designed as a program in which students spend time learning both in companies and in the classroom. The 2016-2017 school year will mark the beginning of a BTS specialized in Hotel-Catering Option A Marketing. It will be followed in 2017-18 by the creation of the BTS Hotel-catering Option B devoted to the culinary arts, and in 2018-2019 by the BTS Tourism which should coincide with the opening of a work-based applied bachelor’s degree (in French, “diplôme de licence pro”) for BTS Option A graduates who wish to continue their studies. Finally, the aim is to open a work-based applied Master’s degree program for the 2019-2020 school year. 

In concrete terms, the first year of the BTS Catering program will begin in the fall of the 2016-2017 school year. 15 to 18 students will enroll for the work-study program: 48 weeks in a company during the peak season and 34 weeks in the classroom (during the low season). The Greta will provide the theoretical training in three languages (French, English and Spanish). In addition, the students will complete 10-week internships abroad. The idea is that the BTS class of 2018 will be able to find jobs both locally and abroad. An important aspect since, as Philippe Thévenet, the representative of the hotel and restaurant association, said: "The profession is facing different expectations according to the nationalities, and a good manager must have experience with the international market".


The Tourism-Hotel-Catering Center of Excellence addresses various observations: 30% of the population in Saint-Martin is under the age of 20 and 30% of the workers are employed in tourism. She added: “in hotels, they hire managers who come from elsewhere”“Young graduates who are fresh out of school don’t have enough training to work in luxury hotels, for example” said Michel Sanz. The head of the education department would like for young Saint-Martiners to have access to a high level of qualification.

To the diversity of the partners can be added the diversity of the profiles for whom this higher training program is intended: holders of the Baccalaureate, employees (work-study contract), lifelong training students (Pole emploi). The Collectivité is committed to individually sponsoring a few students and the Semsamar is also very interested in sponsoring a few young students. Students will be selected after submitting an application (available at the Greta starting on July 11) and taking part in an interview with the different partners.

Philippe Thévenet, the spokesman of the hotel and restaurant association, also insisted on the fact that hotels are the essential tools for social development in Saint-Martin, particularly because they represent the biggest employers in the territory within the private sector. He pointed out that the hotels and restaurants were making an effort to accommodate students in the work-study program because in addition to mobilizing teams, its cost was "relatively high for companies in a difficult context". But he stressed that this training program responded to two major difficulties of the sector: the lack of attractiveness of the hotel and restaurant professions that the experience in the companies will perhaps be able to put into perspective, and the lack of qualified personnel in order to be able to respond to customers’ tougher demands.

The creation of this BTS and the Center of Excellence will open the way for more training programs in the territory. An international center for languages should also soon open its doors.

Fanny Fontan
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