Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Campus Walkabout Connects BTVI President and Students

Looking and learning! Dr. Robertson looks on carefully as this carpentry student precisely works on creating crown molding for his class project.  Photos by Shantique Longley

President of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), Dr. Robert W. Robertson, recently conducted a walkabout to visit classrooms, workshops and labs at the Old Trail Road campus, giving him the opportunity to further connect and get first-hand feedback from students.

Dr. Robertson chatted with students about tuxedo making, hair coloring and relaxing, carpentry, auto mechanics, in addition to receiving helpful tips about Information Technology.

Keeping students first is one of the institution's strategic plan goals.

“Since assuming the office of president back in 2016, I’ve maintained an open door policy. It is my mission to be interactive with our students, from meeting with a select group of representatives during what was dubbed, ‘Coffee and Conversation,’ to sitting and sharing meals, to stopping and chatting with them on their way to classes, I am adamant about putting students first. They are our clients and I want to be reachable, touchable, accessible to them,” stated Dr. Robertson.

Cosmetology major, Andreka Edgecombe, giving BTVI president the scoop on what hair colors are trending in the beauty industry.

Dr. Robertson said his walkabouts have proven beneficial as he then gets a better appreciation for vocational and technical education.

“I get to see the students in their element and they are doing some complex things here.  It’s amazing.

There is much worth in vocational and technical education. Respectfully, what an Electrician can do, an Accountant may not have a clue about, and the intricacies of computer software that one of our Information Technology Management students or graduates knows, may be foreign to a Dentist. Every trade we offer here is important and has its place in society,” underscored the president.

BTVI president paying close attention as he receives tips from Fashion Design student and recent 'Shakespeare in Paradise' costume designer, Marcaela Lett, on how to design a tuxedo.

Dr. Robertson referred to a recent article he read on the PBS News Hour website, which speaks to the United States having a “skills gap” and urgently needing more tradespeople. In that August 2017 article, it revealed that California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education and $200 million to improve the delivery of it, including the use of online education.

“This speaks volumes. They clearly understand the importance of technical and vocational training. It shouldn’t be disregarded. For example, politicians go to barbers, doctors need mechanics, hotels need carpenters, electricians and engineers, and generally, society needs small business owners, which help to create employment. Our mission at BTVI is to assist our students “…to be globally competitive and economically independent,” said Dr. Robertson.

BTVI also has programs in Grand Bahama and Abaco. Currently, there are 1,467 students enrolled at the Nassau campus, 219 in Grand Bahama and 36 in Abaco.