Educational partnership offers professional and personal development

December 7, 2015
Megan Catalano

Employed with JOEY Restaurants for more than 13 years, Jesse Cera understands the skills required for service excellence in the hospitality industry. As the general manager of JOEY Coquitlam, he says he fell in love with the company because of the opportunities it provides to work with people, master his own development and see different perspectives all adding texture to his job and his day.

Cera is set to become the first JOEY Restaurants employee to complete the Professional Management and Leadership Skills certificate through an educational partnership with Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University, and the experience changed the way he views his job.

“I left the courses being really inspired and clear about what I wanted to do with the information I learned,” says Cera. “I used to look at the concept of responsibility as reactionary. The courses taught me it’s about being proactive in the matter of responsibility – it changed so much for me – I was able to get in front of my job and enjoy it more.”

The Professional Management and Leadership Skills certificate is a collaborative program comprised of eight courses that have been delivered to more than 250 JOEY employees in nine regions across Canada and the western United States. Six courses from existing Royal Roads Continuing Studies offerings are tailored to meet the specific needs of JOEY staff and are facilitated by Royal Roads instructors. Two courses were developed as part of JOEY’s training program and are taught by in-house facilitators.

Royal Roads Director of Continuing Studies, Dr. Hilary Leighton explains that whether or not people are pursuing a degree, the majority of professionals want to keep learning and gain in-demand skills applicable to their jobs. She says educational partnerships such as this one can help address that need.

“Our curriculum is a collaborative effort where customization ensures an immediate application of what is learned in the classroom to what is practiced at work in order to build capacity and confidence,” says Leighton. “We’re filling in skills gaps to encourage growth with JOEY employees.”

Leighton says Royal Roads’ professional certificates offer comprehensive and experiential short, non-credit courses deigned to build on competencies such as problem-solving and creativity, relationship-  building, risk assessment and communication skills that help enhance careers. She adds the curriculum continues to evolve.

“We’re only as good as the last thing we’ve done. The world is always changing and we need to be open and responsive to that—we create a really emergent classroom filled with experiential learning.”

Education is a big aspect of retention at JOEY Restaurants with courses and training opportunities offered at every level of employment says JOEY Restaurants Vice-President Human Resources, Andrew Martin. He explains the goal of providing educational opportunities to staff is to unleash their full potential.

“The educational partnership with Royal Roads has enabled us to develop and deliver quality programs across North America,” says Martin. “These courses are developed jointly to ensure the content and delivery reflects our business needs and our culture.  No generic off the shelf courses in this partnership!”

Following the completion of his certificate, Cera hopes to pursue a Master of Business Administration at Royal Roads. He will also help facilitate future certificate courses for other JOEY Restaurants employees.

“It’s cool to be able to sit with people who are brand new to the restaurant and say, ‘this is what we have to offer you and here’s what you have to look forward to’,” says Cera. “The education allows us to add so much more depth – you’re not just serving food at that point, you’re mastering communication or finances. I can’t imagine ten years ago when we didn’t have this opportunity – I’m very grateful we’ve done it.”


Royal Roads Continuing Studies has contract training partnerships with many public and private organizations across the province. For more information, please call 250-391-2600 extension 4475.

Photo: JOEY Coquitlam General Manager Jesse Cera.