Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Minister of Education on Fact Finding Mission to Valencia College

Minister of Education and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) officials tour Valencia College in Orlando. Shown from left to right are Acting BTVI's Associate Vice President of Finance, Andrew Gape; Valencia's Director of Advanced Manufacturing Program, Mike Kepner; Minister of Education, the Honourable Jeffrey Lloyd; BTVI's President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson; Valencia's Assistant Vice President, Global and Continuing Education, Lisa Eli and Valencia's Senior Director, International Student Recruitment and Global Engagement, Talia Popovski.
Photo: Valencia College

Minister of Education, the Honourable Jeffrey Lloyd, recently led officials of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) to Valencia College on a fact finding mission.

Minister Lloyd, along with BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson and Acting Associate Vice President of Finance, Andrew Gape visited the Orlando campus of Valencia College as BTVI prepares to rebuild its facilities following Hurricane Dorian. BTVI’s Abaco centre was demolished by Hurricane Dorian, while the Freeport campus was also extensively damaged.

With funding from the Caribbean Development Bank and the government, BTVI officials are planning to rebuild and develop training programs so they can prepare the Bahamian workforce to meet the demand for skilled workers who in turn would help rebuild the islands’ facilities.

The delegation visited the accelerated trades’ centre and the media and communication labs. They also met with Valencia’s President, Dr. Sandy Shugart.

Minister Lloyd said the visit was worthwhile.

“There is a need for accelerated and industry certified trades training in The Bahamas and the Valencia model is certainly worth our consideration, particularly as we look to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian.”

Further, BTVI and Valencia College are working on an articulation agreement which is designed to allow BTVI’s Business and Information Technology Associate of Applied Science degree graduates to matriculate with credits into Valencia College’s Bachelor’s degree programs and it is anticipated that this agreement should begin as early as August 2020.

The visit to the community college was an opportunity to learn more about each other’s institutions and discuss how they could further develop opportunities for teaching and learning.  This is in addition to learning best practices in layout and design of types of spaces on the college grounds, building and equipping workshops, labs and classrooms.

Dr. Robertson noted that there will be further discussions with Valencia College to quickly assess options to introduce an accelerated trades training option in an effort to address the skills gap in The Bahamas.