Pikaia lodge will generate around 70 permanent jobs for local settlers on the island of Santa Cruz and comply with all legal, economical and social benefits stipulated by local labor laws. The Galapagos special protection law restricts the hiring of Ecuadorians from the continental mainland, as well as foreign nationals, and grants a limited number of temporary residence permits to non-settlers.
Before the advent of the special protection Galapagos law in 1998, the tourism, agriculture and fishing sectors legally brought many continental workers to the Islands, triggering a local population growth explosion. If this trend were allowed to continue, it could have led to overpopulation and unsustainable pressures on the Islands’ natural resources.
The Pikaia Lodge administration will apply for no more than 15 temporary residence permits for key highly-skilled employees with international experience, such as Lodge managers, the executive chef, key multilingual service personnel, and specialized technicians for our complex support systems. These positions must be announced on local radios, billboards or press to give locals ample opportunity to apply; we only receive the permit to bring in external people when no local person can fill the position. Unfortunately, few local residents currently speak English or have the required skills for our high quality guest service. Our ”imported” employees will have a legal and moral obligation to mentor and train locals in preparation for filling their job positions in the future. The good news is that the majority of our available positions will be filled by locals from the adjacent agricultural village of El Cascajo. Six months before the Lodge opens, employees will undergo intensive training for their specific field of service by our hospitality specialists. The people from this community are known for being an honest, hard-working agricultural labor force, with a friendly attitude to visitors.
We believe in being good neighbors. Besides creating jobs for people from the community, we are developing a long-term social responsibility program, including:
• For the last five years, Pikaia Lodge has employed an English teacher for the local El Cascajo school, and this program is ongoing.
• The Lodge donated materials for students’ parents to paint the local school. We have undertaken to continue our support to maintain the school buildings and fixtures.
• The Lodge donated materials to replace the church roof, work which was carried out by local community members.
• The Lodge donated paving materials and fuel for repairing the main road of the village, with the machinery provided by the municipality.
• We undertake to organize and promote regular sporting and ecological events in the village.
• When possible, local students will be invited to Pakaia Lodge conference room for ecology or science presentations by our scientific resident or guides.
• The Lodge will source agricultural products such as Galapagos organic coffee, vegetables and seasonal fruits, exclusively from the El Cascajo community.
• The Lodge will promote and include in its guest programs activities owned and run by village residents, such as visits to lava tunnels, craters and wildlife refuges. Local people can also offer home and village visits, providing our guests with hospitality and samples of local produce.