Wednesday, October 3, 2018

20 New Grand Bahama Shipyard Apprentices Join BTVI

The 2018 Grand Bahama Shipyard apprentices.
Photos: Del-Lamar Davis/BTVI

The Grand Bahama Shipyard recently launched its 2018 apprenticeship cohort with 20 students attending the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).

The apprentices will be taking courses in good housekeeping, incident reporting, safety, basic industry information and procedures at the shipyard. They will also learn basic draftsman skills and use of relevant materials. After four years of training and upon successful completion of the program, the apprentices will be offered positions such as engine mechanics, welders, pipefitters and electricians.

Apprentice Daytwon Dames, said being a part of this program was an opportunity he could not refuse. Since the sixth grade, he has always been fascinated by cruise ships and large vessels. His father worked at the shipyard and when his mother took his father to work, he would always tag along just to see the big lights and boats.

“When I got a call saying that I had successfully made it into the program I felt both excited and relieved because I knew that I was selected out of nearly 200 young individuals - some with more experience than me in the work field. I will always keep that in my mind as motivation to keep pushing until I have successfully completed the program,” said the 21-year-old.

Dayton was already a student at BTVI studying Welding, which he plans to finish to achieve his dream of becoming a pipe fitter. He is also currently employed at the Grand Bahama Shipyard and hopes to become one of the top pipe fitters at the company.

“I must say that the teachers at BTVI are doing an excellent job at making sure we understand what they are teaching and how it is very important that we know what to do in the work field,” said Dayton.

Fellow apprentice, Jewel Swain, is also excited to have been afforded this opportunity. She said this program is the first step towards building a future for herself.

“I was so excited that I could not stop smiling, I wanted to start classes as soon as possible. I jumped around in glee like a kid with a new toy as I thanked God and immediately called my mom to tell her the good news,” said the 20-year-old.

“I want to be respected as a skilled tradesman and I hope to be able to stand out for all the right reasons in a male dominated environment,” added the aspiring mechanical engineer.

Jewel spends most of her day at BTVI and enjoys every minute of it – especially her time in the classroom.

“I try to be like a sponge and absorb all of the information I can. To think that one day I’ll be able to do these things and call myself a mechanic – wow, it’s amazing! I get excited just thinking about it and we’ve just begun, so imagine the things I’ll know in the next few months,” said Jewel.

The apprentices are getting right to work and learning all they can.

BTVI Associate Vice President of the northern campus, Veronica Collie looks forward to working with this new group of apprentices and to a continued relationship with the Grand Bahama Shipyard.

“We are happy to have another contingent from the Grand Bahama Shipyard back on our campus.  We appreciate that technical education is important to the Grand Bahama Shipyard and that they are confident in our product,” said Ms. Collie.

The shipyard and BTVI began its partnership in 1994. Over the years, this partnership has churned out 100 professionally trained tradesmen.

Apprentices taking notes and focusing on their lesson.

BTVI is the premier technical and vocational training facility in The Bahamas and recently secured City and Guilds accreditation. This accreditation is important as BTVI continues to expand its apprenticeship programs. The Grand Bahama Shipyard is one of the largest shipyards in the region with more than 800 employees.

The apprenticeship program was launched with the purpose of replacing and significantly lowering the expatriate workforce at the shipyard.

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