I remember the first day when I decided to attend Cayo CET, I had recently graduated Belmopan Comprehensive School. I had decided to take a year off before continuing to UB. I had gotten tired of just being at home meanwhile all my friends were either continuing their studies or already working; the break from school had begun to get tedious. One day as I was chatting with some friends, some were on a break in between classes at UB and others were working, fine workmanship if you ask me. All were alright like if they were all doing something with their life and I was just on pause. One day a friend of mine told me she had begun classes at CET, I believe she was in the Hospitality Program. She had commented to me about all the programs they offered, out of all of them I must say the Automotive Mechanic Program interested me the most. Considering that skilled trade programs here at CCET are design to meet specific employer demands. I decided to attend the automotive mechanic course. I was eager to learn about automotive repair and maintenance; the thought of getting dirty and mastering the craft of fixing cars was quite an appealing idea. I found the courses here at CET revitalizing, to have the opportunity to put hands on a vehicle and physically see the progress of our work take life. To listen to the roar of the engine in our first overhaul. Finally, the opportunity to physical implement the learning activities from class and to see our work take physical form. Seeing an engine dissected to its smallest parts, putting it back together and watching it come back to life. It was truly an amazing sight one that I will never forget. Most of all I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet a great Teacher Mr. Manuel Gonzales, equally grateful to have made good friends while learning our trade. Lastly the opportunity to join the Alumnae here at Cayo CET, and grateful to be given the privilege to be able to come and teach our craft.
My name is Denise Irene Duran, I attended the Center for Employment Training back in 1999 for 1 year at the age of 15 years old. My first day registering at CCET was the scariest but didn’t realize that it was going to be a part of “my dream” for my future. Mr. Ryan was the Principal at the office when I went with my mom on a warm Monday morning, he is a very nice person (he probably doesn’t remember me now after all these years). Mr. Ryan asked me what section I was interested in; Business, Catering, Tourism Hospitality & Service Industry, etc and immediately, my interest was the Tourism Hospitality & Service class. I wanted to know what the instructors had in store for this particular class – so I signed up. It was interesting to know that Cayo could have done something for the not so fortunate ones to make it into high school and to learn a trade instead. My perspective of CCET was to learn a trade in so many fields and follow your goals and dreams to become someone in life and that’s just what I did. During my training at CCET with a group of 15 – 20 students, we learn how to Fold Napkins, answer a telephone, practical scenarios on how to deal with customers (good & bad), spreading a bed, holding a tray, serving a meal, setting a table, and so much more… Before my year was up during the month of November – CET allows the student to actually put in to practice what was learnt in the class room at resorts, lodges, hotels and restaurants around Belize. They had a list of resorts and gave us the choice as to where we wanted to go. I looked at the list and immediately the name “The lodge at Chaa Creek” was in my sight ((I had Zero idea what was Chaa Creek, where it is located and what they do at Chaa Creek) but I decided to give it a try. Mrs. Maria Smith (Hospitality Class) & Mrs. Denise Donlon (Tourism Class) decided for the class to take a trip out to Chaa Creek, so that I can see where I was coming for my training and for the rest of the class to get the experience of the lodge. This was scary for me but when we arrived, my jaw dropped with amazement. This was when I got an eye opener that I would love to be a part of something so beautiful. The Owners of Chaa Creek (Mick & Lucy Fleming) was very friendly and welcoming to our class. Mr. Mick showed us around the property and the different departments, so we can see what was done at Chaa Creek to accommodate their guests that travel from all over the world to come stay with them as part of their vacation. The different areas during my training at Chaa Creek was at the front desk, Kitchen, Dining room, Butterfly Farm and housekeeping. I enjoyed meeting all the friendly staff but was eager to spend more time at the front desk. I felt this was my field and what I would enjoy doing best. CCET was an amazing training center – it’s an eye opener and definitely worth the sacrifice for getting you ready for the “real world”. I am currently employed at The lodge at Chaa Creek since January 6th 2000 as Front Desk & Guests Services Assistant Manager and Wedding & Events Coordinator. I always believe that with hard work and dedication, you can make a difference in your life and I thank CCET for everything they had done for me to make this happen. I really don’t think that I would be at Chaa Creek if it wasn’t for CCET.
My passion has always been the culinary arts, and CET offered me the opportunity to acquire a formal training in Commercial Food Preparation. The Food Preparation Program taught me much more practical hands on skills than what I learnt in high school. I also learnt more of the commercial and business side of Food Preparation as well as the Health aspects that are crucial in the industry and food safety. The skills I acquired at the Cayo Centre for Employment Training can never be taken away and I did all this after I had completed my Associates Degree. It’s one of the best choices I’ve made, bringing me one step closer to achieving my goal of mastering the Culinary Arts.