Senator Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour served as guest speaker of the National Training Agency’s sixth cohort, here on the island of Grand Bahama on Thursday afternoon.
Held at the Ruby Swiss Restaurant, 61 young persons were successful in completing the 14-week course, geared toward equipping them with the basic skills to enter the workforce.
Minister Foulkes congratulated the graduates on a job well done and encouraged them to continue with their efforts in becoming eligible and qualified participants in the Grand Bahamian workforce.
“I want to congratulate the 61 trainees that have successfully completed the requirements for graduating in the 6th Grand Bahama cohort. Early on, you committed yourselves to the discipline of learning and preparation for the workforce by gaining basic employable skills and improving your overall confidence. You are here tonight because you stuck with that commitment and have succeeded in beginning the phase of your life for good. Your family, community support groups and your trainers are all very proud of you and we all want to congratulate you for your achievements.
“Graduates, you have successfully completed four weeks of soft skills training, including attitude management, workplace values and practices, policies and procedures, teamwork and managing relationships, customer service, job preparation including resume preparation and interviewing which are vital to your performance in the workplace. I see many people who are trained and have academic skills, have degrees and have a long resume, but, they perform poorly in their interview, hence they do not get the job,” stated Senator Foulkes.
“I am pleased to note that one third of your cohort has already found employment and so many others of you are currently being interviewed or being considered for employment. Rest assured that the team here at the NTA in Grand Bahama, along with the department of labour will continue to build upon the leverage to ensure that you find gainful employment. When our workforce is well trained, investment increases, opportunities for entrepreneurship and job opportunities continue to expand and new industries potentially emerge,” informed Foulkes.
Gadville McDonald, Executive Director, NTA also offered congratulatory remarks to the successful participants of the cohort.
“Learning and growth is a continuous event and we all must be intentional to engage and to benefit.
“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate all 61 trainees that have successfully completed Grand Bahama’s NTA 6th cohort. You have endured 14 weeks of soft skills training, and internship at various work places. Your presence here tonight is a testament to the fact that you are now ready for The Bahamas’ workforce.
“The NTA has done its part in ensuring that you understand and model the attitude and attributes expected of you in the workplace. We wish to commend all of our presenters and intern partners who have partnered with us over the years to ensure that we fulfill this most important mandate of preparing the workforce of The Bahamas, particularly those between the ages of 16 to 30.
“We are keenly aware of the unemployment challenges that exist among this age group, therefore we as an agency have given great focus to the many ways our training will lead into employment or entrepreneurial opportunities. As Grand Bahama prepares to be the tech hub of The Bahamas, the NTA now acknowledges the need to expand its training provider list here in Grand Bahama. In addition to internship offered, our trainees can receive additional certification in areas such as Microsoft Office, Web Design, Graphic Design, App Development and other technical disciplines. These additional offerings will immediately provide greater opportunities for both our trainees and for our trainers.
“Graduates, trainees, we are proud of you. Go out and make a difference. You have an opportunity to distinguish yourself in the workplace. You have been trained; organizations throughout our country are constantly looking for individuals who are result driven and have what is called the proven attitude, that will add value to their organizations and result in sustained success of their organizations,” concluded McDonald.
Donald Glass, Office Manager of the NTA’s Grand Bahama office served as the evening’s Master of Ceremony. He expressed,
“Tonight is the culmination over a three-month classroom and on the job and hands-on training by them. They have steered the course amidst challenges with parents, families and the complexes associated with striving for excellence when faced with demands of living from day to day.
“Since 2014, the NTA on Grand Bahama has been providing opportunities for our young people, from the classroom to the workplace, for them to forget the regrets and missteps of their past and strive forward towards excellence. Shy teenagers have developed into confident and contributing nation builders.
Inexperienced young adults have been given the direction needed to move forward with the great cooperation of our industry providers. For this session we have 14 of them.
Tonight we will be rewarding our trainees for their determination, commitment and consistent focus on the training provided by and through the NTA.
Kaithlyn Thompson, an NTA trainee of the 6th cohort shared reflections on her time spent at the NTA.
She noted, “It is indeed a honour to be a part of such an auspicious occasion, and I must add, that in my participation in this program was most certainly a sensational one. This is the time for bold measures, this is the country and we are the generation. Many individuals lack the essential skills required to function effectively in the workplace, but we are so blessed to have been afforded this opportunity to be trained for the workplace, to propel us to our next destination.
“Throughout the course of this four-week program, I acquired the basic attributes, such as teamwork, communication, punctuality, credibility, and the ability to cope under pressure. Further, I have gained the ability to exercise these sterling qualities in the workplace. This has been a rewarding experience for me. Never in my wildest dreams, would I have imagined the fun, the laughter and the engagement that would come out of a job readiness class setting. Each of our presenters sent before us were prepared, organized and confident; each stepping out with an innovative approach. They were not only great speakers but also role models. There is nothing more appreciated than someone who practices what they preach.
“Fellow graduates, today I celebrate you; I celebrate who you are, who you have become and who you are about to be. I am sure that we have not taken this opportunity for granted. This is just one of the many stepping stones on the journey that we are each about to take. It is my hope that we all take what we have learnt from this program, not only into the workplace but apply it throughout our daily lives. Whatever you do from this day forward, always do it in excellence, said Thompson.
Fellow NTA trainee, Rashae Cooper added, “During the training at the NTA I realized that we have a lot of characters; but it was a great experience because we had the opportunity to interact with different personalities. The training truly benefitted me and it made me realize that the trainers gave us information that guided us and it actually worked.”
Internship partner in the NTA 6th Cohort included, Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited, Bahama Rock, Hutchison Group of Companies, Grand Bahama Port Authority, Bell Channel Inn, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Bahamas Customs Department, Cable Bahamas Limited, Quality Auto Sales, The Rand Memorial Hospital, The Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, Aliv, Polymers International, The Grand Bahama Children’s Home and The Grand Bahama Home and Daycare Center for the Aged. Presenters for this year’s cohort included Corinda Swain, Pastor Desmond Sturrup and Deborah Pratt.