Acting Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Senator Lucille Moe, has called for the expansion of The University of the West Indies Open Campus’ Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Challenge Programme (PTFTC).
The school-to-work programme, which targets fifth formers, held its orientation session on Thursday for about 23 students who will be interning at 19 businesses this summer. They were chosen from a group of 90 students who graduated from the one-year programme in April, this year.
Senator Moe, in her address to the interns and the coordinators of the programme, lauded the initiative, which was implemented in 2016 to equip students with the life skills they need to succeed in the world of work.
“Programmes like this are clearly beneficial to our society. I hope that we will have more schools participating in this project. I believe it can also be expanded over time to offer more modules. I was pleased to learn that 19 businesses have participated this year, but I am still going to make an appeal to the business community to support the Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Challenges programme.
“It is an opportunity for the business sector to contribute to the development of Barbadian young people in a meaningful way. I hope that other individuals, who have an interest in ensuring that the youth of our country have opportunities, will also do what they can to assist us with this programme,” Ms. Moe stated.
Several schools took part in the PTFTC programme, including Coleridge & Parry, The Ellerslie School, Grantley Adams Secondary, Frederick Smith Secondary, Lester Vaughan, St. George Secondary and The St. Michael School.
The Acting Education Minister also proffered the view that while government had a duty to educate its citizens, it also had a responsibility to provide opportunities for them.
“The Government of Barbados educated everyone present, however, we need to also provide conduits for that education to be utilized. And this programme, offered by the UWI Open Campus, in conjunction with the ministry, does just that. It is about giving opportunities to young people to enter the working world equipped with life skills,” Senator Moe surmised.
She told the interns that they would have to master a number of skills to be successful in the workplace. These include, the ability to “listen, learn and grow as individuals”; taking pride in their dress and their work; making sure they managed their time effectively, which will be one of the most important aspects of their ability to excel at their chosen career; showing initiative; and having a penchant for hard work.
One of the successes of the programme is Jasmine Roach, who was in the first group of participants in 2016. She left The Ellerslie School without any qualifications, but after participating in the programme and interning at the UWI Cave Hill Campus, she went on to gain five CXCs, and is now furthering her studies.
During the PTFTC programme, students cover topics such as Presenting Yourself Properly, Personal Branding, Effective Communication, Business Etiquette, Social Graces and Professional Ethics. They also write cover letters and résumés and go over the requirements for successful interviews.