Some 92 youths will be learning key skills over the next 5-7 weeks at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) Division of Technical and Vocational Education (DTVE), Arnos Vale.

The training programme entitled, “The 2019 Youth Employability Skills Programme”, is funded by the Mustique Charitable Foundation. It will run from July 15th to August 23rd, 2019. Youths involved in the programme will receive level II training in bartending, motor vehicle serviceand maintenance, electrical installation and introduction to garment production/construction.

Deputy Dean of the SVGCC DTVE, Janelle Allen, said she is very pleased that Mustique Charitable Foundation was on board with the College for another year. Allen told participants to appreciate the opportunity given to them because many other youths wanted it. She described the training areas as key skills that will increase participants’ access to employment and/or self-employment.

Dean of the Division of Technical and Vocational Education Osborne Bowens thanked the Mustique Charitable Foundation for their continued support. The Dean described Dularie Malcolm as a diligent worker on the College’s behalf to implement this year’s programme. According to Bowens, funding for this year’s programme amounted to over EC $200 000, of which, approximately $2500 will be expended on each individual. He stated that some 400 persons applied for entry into the programme; 92 were selected. This, Bowens highlighted, is testimony of the significant interest in the programme.

Dean of DTE Mr. Osbourne Bowens

Bowens added that trainees will be taught numeracy and cost estimation and entrepreneurship. He further said that the courses were selected based on market trends so that participants can find viable employment. The DTVE Dean told participants that money is not going to come as soon as they complete their training, that volunteerism is a good avenue to gain industry experience.

Director of the SVGCC Nigel Scott said the DVTE has, over the years, provided training to persons who did not matriculate for College. In the past, persons with 3 O’ Levels were allowed entrance, Scott stated. Now, persons with 7/8 O’ Levels are applying for entry making it even harder for persons with fewer subjects to gain entry, he explained. Thus, Scott reiterated that such training programmes are important to fill the void created by the strong competition to enter the College.

No longer should we think that technical education is for persons who do not have the brain for academics, the Director of the SVGCC asserted. He told participants to apply themselves and to do well on their various attachments as this can lead to future employment.
Now, persons with 7/8 O’ Levels are applying for entry making it even harder for persons with fewer subjects to gain entry, he explained. Thus, Scott reiterated that such training programmes are important to fill the void created by the strong competition to enter the College.

No longer should we think that technical education is for persons who do not have the brain for academics, the Director of the SVGCC asserted. He told participants to apply themselves and to do well on their various attachments as this can lead to future employment.

Project Director of the Mustique Charitable Foundation Dularie Malcolm told participants that the Foundation believes in them and that every penny spent to implement the programme was worth it. “We believe in you all”, Malcolm affirmed. Last year, there was a 98% success rate, the Project Director stated. “This year, we are going to have 100% completion,” she emphasised. Malcolm acknowledged and commended male participants and said there should be more males in programme.

Ministers of Education speaking at the ceremony

Minister of Education, Hon. St. Clair Prince, said he was impressed with the programme since its establishment and that any initiative that supports the development of youths should be embraced. Minister Prince commended Dean Bowens and all the agencies involved with the training. He also recognised the work of past Project Director of the Mustique Trust Lavinia Gunn, and current Project Director Dularie Malcolm.

The Minister of Education affirmed that the Ministry of Education fully supports the initiative.

He disclosed that a significant number of students from last year’s batch have been employed and noted that TVET provides an alternative pathway for youths. He also said that designs are being completed for a technical institute in Marriaqua.
Minister Prince commended Dean Bowens and all the agencies involved with the training. He also recognised the work of past Project Director of the Mustique Trust Lavinia Gunn, and current Project Director Dularie Malcolm.

The Minister of Education affirmed that the Ministry of Education fully supports the initiative.

He disclosed that a significant number of students from last year’s batch have been employed and noted that TVET provides an alternative pathway for youths. He also said that designs are being completed for a technical institute in Marriaqua.

Minister with responsibility for Youth Hon. Frederick Stephenson expressed gratitude to the Mustique Charitable Foundation for affording youths in St. Vincent and the Grenadines the opportunity to learn a skill. Minister Stephenson stated he was delighted to see young men taking advantage of the opportunity and that they are not on the block drinking and smoking.

Minister Stephenson

According to Minister Stephenson, the OECS Secretariat will partner with the Department for International Development (DFID) United Kingdom on a project that will train around 6000 across member states, of which, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be allotted approximately 2500 spaces. The project should commence in September this year or early next year, Minister Stephenson disclosed. He also mentioned the coming on stream of a Call Centre in September which will provide up to 1500 jobs for young persons.

The opening ceremony for 2019 youth training programme was held at the SVGCC Division of Technical and Vocational Education on Thursday, July 11th, 2019 and had representation from the Ministries of Education and National Mobilisation, Marion House, and National Commission on Crime Prevention (NCCP), among others. Roger Pritchard, the Managing Director of the Mustique Company, was also present.

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