Skills training graduates encouraged to value education
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
BROWN'S TOWN, St Ann:
SCORES OF young people from communities in North West St Ann began a new phase of their lives with renewed hope after graduating recently from the inaugural Skills Training Programme initiated by Member of Parliament Dr Dayton Campbell.
Campbell, who has repeatedly stressed the importance of education, launched the programme last December with the goal of educating individuals through skills-training classes and night school.
The graduation ceremony, which took place at St Hilda's High School auditorium in Brown's Town, saw the trainees being certified competent in several skill areas, including bartending, merchandising, customer care, cosmetology, house-keeping, food preparation, cashiering and several other skill sets.
"You are going to get the highest returns when you invest in education," Campbell told the graduation ceremony, held under the theme 'Education, the path to prosperity begins here'.
He encouraged the graduates to be resolute as they move towards bettering their lives.
Campbell later told The Gleaner: "To ensure that these graduates are not just given their certification and left to fend for themselves, they will be assisted with apprenticeship and training sessions on how to write résumés and other skills needed to succeed in the working world."
Guest speaker, Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) executive director Dennis Hickey, congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to continue pursuing excellence.
He further encouraged them to abide by the REAL principle, which involves Respect, Excellence, Attitude and Lifelong learning.
Relatives and friends came out in their numbers to celebrate with the graduates.
"One of the most important things that we have learnt over the past six months is how to build relationships," valedictorian Kevin Johnson told the gathering. Sheneka Francis and Kevon Johnson picked up special awards for being top students.
One graduate, Ammiga McIntosh from Free Hill, did courses in bartending and mixology to complement her HEART training.
"I was attending HEART, doing food and beverage, front office, housekeeping and bartending, but I didn't get a chance to do mixology. That's why I did this," McIntosh told The Gleaner. "This certificate will take me a far way. I am ready for work and I'm proud of myself and fellow graduates."
Another, Nasherea MckAnuff of Lower Buxton, Brown's Town, was getting a certificate for the first time and expressed joy at the occasion.
"I feel very good, I really wanted it. It's a really, really good feeling," MckAnuff stated.