High tide at Trench Town ... as young men rush to register at new college
The administrators of the Trench Town Polytechnic College (TTPC) will have to fast-track plans to expand its offerings as there has been increased interest in their programmes following The Sunday Gleaner's publication of the work of the South St Andrew-based institution in saving men at risk.
"We had such an influx on Monday. I don't know what I am going to do," said principal, Dosseth Edwards-Watson.
"We have seen an increase in the numbers, and persons are coming, and they are of all ages now. Some of them are from the very same community, or neighbouring communities, who were just not aware or had not heard," added Edwards-Watson.
The college now occupies the same space as the former Trench Town High School, which, for years, struggled to attract enough students and whose students were eventually transferred to the nearby Charlie Smith High School.
The polytechnic college was officially opened this month and offers Heart Trust/NTA and Caribbean Maritime Institute programmes in data operation, auto body repair, customer service, maritime studies, port operations, and logistics. There are also courses in information technology, mathematics, English, career and personal development, and entrepreneurship.
Up to last week, the institution had 381 full-time students and fewer than 100 part-time students, but the administrator said the college would be able to accommodate at least 1,200 students once the School of Engineering and the School of Hospitality have been completed.
So far, there are more males enrolled than females, and the interest of males continues to exceed that of females when Edwards-Watson considered the profile of those who visited the school last week.
"It is more males coming, so I don't know if that is reflective of the geography of the community or the population of the community, but that is what we are seeing. You can count on one hand the number of females who have come," she said.
"We had a number of adults who are enquiring about short programmes. They are not interested in the two years or three years kind of thing. I had to just say to them that we are in the process of finalising some of those and right as we reopen in the new year, we will be able to accommodate them," she told The Sunday Gleaner.
Edwards-Watson is also pleased that the institution has been attracting young people from other communities such as Waterhouse, Portmore, Harbour View, Gordon Town, and Linstead in St Catherine.
"It's not just the members of the community that we want to serve. We want to serve anyone who has the need for the type of programme that we offer here," she said.