PHILIPSBURG:---Thirty-three young men and women showed their interest by registering on Friday, January 26th for the Building Construction Trades (BCT) training program. The initiative, a joint collaboration between the Division of Study Financing, the Department of Youth and the Department of Labor and Social Services, was held at the Government Administration Building (in conference room 2). Applicants varied in ages (19-37), with educational backgrounds of a mixture of mostly GED, CXC and secondary school graduates who have a broad assortment of working experiences ranging from manual labor and warehouse workers to sales and administration workers. All applications are being evaluated by a committee and qualified candidates will be identified for the trades training program, a six-month tailored made course at the MIC Institute of Technology in Trinidad. The Institute, an agency of the Ministry of Education in Trinidad, was established in 1974 as a joint venture of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the United Nations Development Programme / United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNDP/UNIDO) and a number of private local industries. Once complete, students will leave with MIC certification with the option for formal Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) level one certification.
Financing for this project is secured via the Studying in the Region initiative subsidized by the Dutch Government (MIN OCW). One of the goals of this initiative is to give talented youth and young adults who may not meet the regular study financing guidelines a chance to enhance their marketable competences and become skilled laborers poised to enter the local workforce. With unemployment figures prior to Hurricane Irma at approximately 26%, the Studying in the Region program was expanded by the Council of Ministers in February 2017 to include unemployed persons wanting to pursue a technical vocational education. The training is just one avenue of the overall short, medium and long-term vision of the Department of Education. That will however take some time to properly plan and execute via the necessary allocation of funds.
This program will be evaluated and as is the case with all recipients of study financing from the Government of St. Maarten the academic process and progress will be monitored and controlled to ensure that recipients successfully complete this training program.
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Jorien Wuite, was happy to note that four females were among those that registered. “In such a strongly male dominated field, I was impressed that four ladies came in. I applaud them for not letting traditional gender roles stop them from pursuing their goals and I wish them, along with all the other applicants, success”. The Minister added, “As I indicated last week when I first encouraged persons to participate in the registration drive, these kinds of initiatives are critical to ensuring that St. Maarten successfully recovers from the setbacks caused by the passing Hurricane Irma. “