Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw (second right), SJPI Principal, Ian Drakes (at right), Vice President, Corporate Services and Bank Secretary at the CDB, ​Yvette Lemonias-Seale and man of the moment, Kevon “Von” Hall, at the unveiling of the plaque and mural entitled “Generations”.  (M.Rollock/BGIS)

The vision and mission of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) has been perfectly captured in a mural entitled Generations, designed and painted by young artist and entrepreneur Kevon “Von” Hall.

Mr. Hall and the SJPI came in for high praise last Wednesday night as the mural, which was sponsored by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), was unveiled as part of the institute’s 50th -anniversary celebrations.

Vice President, Corporate Services and Bank Secretary at CDB, Yvette Lemonias-Seale, said the SJPI and the bank shared more than just a common address – the CDB is located next door to the institute.  She pointed out that both entities, which are celebrating 50 years, also have a passion for equipping students with technical and vocational skills.

“During our 50 years of operation, the bank has invested over US $1 billion in education and training across the region.  We have built and rehabilitated schools; and financed curriculum development, information communication technology applications and technical, vocational education and training.  We have funded student loan schemes; trained tens of thousands of teachers; and funded critical education research and policy development.

“This work continues to be an important area of focus for the bank, but the institute has been on a similar path, training and equipping thousands of students over the past 50 years with technical and vocational skills.  You have created a cadre of nation builders who have been constructing and maintaining our homes, offices and public spaces … and who have been creating businesses and employment opportunities for themselves and others,” she explained.

Mrs. Lemonias-Seale disclosed that CDB had a long association with the Government of Barbados, which had extended to a more direct and intimate partnership with the SJPI.  It has assisted the institute with a range of initiatives over the years, ranging from workshops to scholarships to internships.

She added the bank was “pleased” to be associated with the mural as it was congruent with one of CDBs new areas of focus – the creative and cultural industries. The Vice President emphasized the bank’s support for “our young creative and cultural practitioners”, adding that the cultural and creative industries sector could be a major economic driver in the region.  She also invited young entrepreneurs in the sector to access the bank’s services as it was “open for business”.

“We recognize that murals are a creative, cultural and graphic interpretation of life ….  This mural is the expression of all that Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology embodies – an environment of creativity, vitality and youthfulness.  A buzz of innovation, entrepreneurship and energy,” she stated

The new mural entitled ‘Generations’ located near the entrance of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology was painted by artist Kevon “Von” Hall. (M.Rollock/BGIS)

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, lauded the SJPI for the role it has played in bringing Barbados to where it is as a nation. Ms. Bradshaw told those in attendance that the institute had gained a reputation as the premier institution in Barbados for delivering technical and vocational education since it opened its doors in 1969.

Calling the curriculum “rich and diverse”, the Education Minister said it offered close to 60 programmes under eight divisions, through modalities including online and blended learning, which were all aimed at satisfying the needs of the national and global workforce.

She noted that studies in renewable energy, fibre optics, computer numerical control, 3D printing, drone technology and maintenance, hybrid and electric-powered vehicles, smart agriculture and garment technology were just a few of the programmes the institute continued to offer “as a progressive 21st-century vocational institution”.

“With this identity intact, even as the institution continues to evolve, the painting of a mural by a young, progressive Barbadian and entrepreneur can be said to signal the new dawn for this institution.  This mural, designed and painted by Mr. Kevon Hall is a timeless piece of popular art, which signals a celebration of these past 50 years.  Fifty years of producing tradesmen and technicians that are found in their numbers in every single industry on this island, and some beyond these shores. “The mural … playfully reflects the vision and mission of the institute.  It is intended to motivate future generations and all who view this work to be so inspired to contribute to their country’s technological and developmental landscape.  I want to applaud you Kevon for this excellent piece of creativity.  I know it could not have been easy … but I believe you are yet another example of what Barbados has to offer,” Ms. Bradshaw asserted.

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