Tuesday, February 26, 2019

TVET Day:Technical training considered country's 'backbone'

The panel of industry professionals debunked the myth attached to TVET that technical and vocational careers are for those who cannot do. Left to right: BTVI’s Career Officer, Michael Smith; BTVI’s Dean of Student Services, Racquel Bethel; BGC Limited's Owner, Mark Whitehouse; BTVI’s President, Robert W. Robertson; SMG Millwork's Chief Operating Officer, Kenny Cargill; Touch Controls owner, Ryan Bethell and BTVI's Associate Vice President of Administrative Services, Zakia Winder. Photos by Shantique Longley

Minister of Education, the Honourable Jeffrey Lloyd feels technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is the “most critical need in the country.”

“Were it not for technicians, society would come to a halt,” said Minister Lloyd recently at TVET Day at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).

“It is regrettable that as the foundation of any society that TVET is seen as a discount in the minds of people,” he noted.

Minister Lloyd said he wishes to see BTVI become a tertiary-level technical school so graduates could receive advanced degrees in addition to the institution becoming a place of research.

TVET Day was hosted during the Ministry or Education’s Technical Month, which is held each February.

BTVI’s Chairman, Kevin Basden had similar views regarding the significance of TVET.

“TVET is the backbone of our country. We tend to minimize the technical aspect of life until something goes down whether there’s a leak or the computer system goes down. Do not think you are any less of a person because of a technical education. Not only does it allow you to be employed, but to be the employer,” said Mr. Basden.

Meanwhile, BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson noted that with a shortage of some of the basic competencies needed for the local workforce, TVET is necessary.

“This forum is the right move towards promoting awareness of the importance of TVET in the country.Not only does TVET play a role in minimizing the skills’ gap in The Bahamas, it also addresses a variety of issues including unemployment and socio-economic inequality,” said Dr. Robertson.

Dr. Robertson took the opportunity to debunk the myth that TVET is for the struggling student or those who cannot do.

“We do not put the TVET student in a box. There is no specific educational profile for TVET students. Age, gender and academic backgrounds are not barriers. Indeed, many graduates go on to start their own businesses,” he stated.

One of those graduates, Ryan Bethell, who is now owner of Touch Control, was a member of the panel of industry professionals, who discussed what employers are looking for in employees, inclusive of hard and soft skills. He was joined by Chief Operating Officer of SMG Millwork, Kenny Cargill; owner of BGC Limited, Mark Whitehouse; BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Administrative Services, Zakia Winder and BTVI’s Career Resource Officer, Michael Smith.

Later in the ceremony held at BTVI’s Old Trail Road campus, Minister Lloyd presented City and Guilds’ teaching, training and assessor certificates to 26 faculty members who successfully passed the course.

Dr. Robertson described it as a watershed moment for BTVI, as it has begun offering the internationally-recognized City and Guilds’ courses at its Grand Bahama campus.  Also, six apprentices from the Freeport Container Port passed Level 3 Engineering Health and Safety and Level 3 Engineering Principles, which are a part of Level 3 Diploma in Engineering.  Students would have studied subjects such as Physics, Advance Math, Welding and, Fabrication and Hydraulics.

“We are going to the next level, further bolstering our offerings to align with the economy’s demands for skilled labour, responding to business and industry needs, and by extension, attempting to improve living standards for many,” he stated.

Minister of Education, the Honourable Jeffrey Lloyd, presents BTVI’s Academic Support Officer, Remiska Wildgoose with her City and Guilds’ teaching, training and assessor certificate. She was among 26 faculty members receiving the certificate at TVET Day.

 Students from The Nassau School getting insight on what employers look for when hiring.

Students from various high schools gathered to hear the benefits of TVET.