20 new civil wedding celebrants certified |07 July 2023
During the months of February, March and April, 21 participants ventured on a journey opening up to countless opportunities and out of the 21 participants, 20 successfully completed their training and assessment and have been sworn in as civil status officers which allow them to celebrate weddings.
The certificate presentation ceremony, which was held at the National Museum of History, was graced by the presence of the Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka; principal secretary for Immigration and Civil Status, Alain Volcère; and staff from The Guy Morel Institute (TGMI).
The journey was not an easy one as the participants had to go through nine days of intense training and one day that determined whether or not they would be successful.
Speaking to the celebrants, Minister Fonseka said: “This is a great occasion whereby you can turn it into an opportunity of a lifetime. When government took the decision last year to decentralise the conduct of civil marriages, we did so in order to entice local participation in all aspects of its planning and administration. The idea was to open up the sector and provide talented Seychellois with the opportunity to take ownership in the shaping up of this highly-prized niche tourism market, which can only grow alongside the growth of international travel and the realisation of the country’s plans to expand and diversify the tourism product offering.”
The decentralisation initiative is also very much about upgrading service quality; hence the reason why all prospective celebrants have to go through a comprehensive training programme at The Guy Morel Institute. The intricacies and demands of the marriage clientele is such that the celebrants have to be well versed in the techniques of personalised service.
“Be conscious of your role as ambassadors and use every opportunity to promote our values and culture within your clientele and through your marketing efforts. Competition is healthy. Do compete with each other, but not against each other. I extend to you my sincere congratulations and wish you success in your endeavour. This decentralisation effort and the preparation of the celebrants in the new setting, has been possible thanks to the department of Tourism which has been instrumental as a partner since the programme’s inception,” said Minister Fonseka.
Patrick Bristol from TGMI shared that discussions between the Immigration and Civil Status department and TGMI to develop a training for wedding celebrants started in 2022. This was followed by various consultations with relevant stakeholders and other keypartners for TGMI to produce the course outline for the training which has now evolved into this short programme called ‘Certificate in Civil Wedding Celebrancy’.
“This endeavour is very much in line with the institute’s mission to build capacity where necessary and it is testimony of the work the institute is continuously doing. Today the first cohort who have successfully completed the programme will be receiving their certificate of achievement. The participants have demonstrated that they have the necessary skills and competencies as civil wedding celebrants. They will now be licenced to guide future couples through one of the most important events of their lives.”
Currently, there is an accredited ‘Certificate in Immigration Studies’ developed specifically to meet the demands of the sector and there is hope of expanding the programme to diploma level. These are evidence of the very good collaboration that exists between the Immigration and Civil Status department and TGMI.
Jasmine Talma, a young wedding celebrant, shared that she joined the programme as a side hustle. “I have my full-time job but I wanted to have something to do during the week-end. Personally I love weddings and I am a romantic at heart and hoping to bring the joy to others. Maybe someday one of my colleagues will get the opportunity to celebrate my wedding.”
Before joining the course, Jasmine thought it would be only to show them how to conduct a wedding…but it was more than that. “We learnt about customer service, how to manage our budget etc. It was a really good package and I am grateful for that.”
Steeve Thelermont, a newly registered wedding celebrant, shared his happiness upon receiving this new certificate. “I am happy to represent our government in this noble task. I was attracted with the advert in the Nation and decided to be part of it. The training given by TGMI exceeded my expectation and they are setting up for success not failure. I am very much content with the whole process.”
Photos: Leanne Alcindor