New Live Worship Center (NLWC) is stepping up to the plate to boost future opportunities for students. Headed by Pastor Simeon Outten, the noted religious entity has started a special apprenticeship program.
Some 150 high school students from Grades 7 to 12, who registered for the New Life Apprenticeship Program, which was launched on Saturday (January 9), were encouraged to not only find their passion, but allow that passion to pay their bills.
Guest speaker for the launch of the program (which is offered free to students), Minister of Agriculture Michael Pintard, told the audience that vocational professions are rapidly becoming the primary jobs generating revenue options that exceed traditional occupations.
“This program is about you, about empowerment for you and your future,” Pintard told the youngsters. “This program is to prepare you.”
He noted that with the experience and preparation this program will provide, the students would be able to go out into the workforce with a foundation of knowledge to build on.
“You would have had training by professionals who have volunteered their time to pour into you what they have learned,” he added.
“My generation and the one before, did not seize key opportunities for skill development needed in our country, but now is the time to prepare the next generation to take advantage of those opportunities to take the country to another level,” said Pintard.
He emphasized the importance of training.
“For years, some 20-30 years now we’ve been saying that we need to train Bahamians in skilled professions, that we have to send to foreign countries for. But today, you are being given the opportunity to be ones to say enough is enough. You are being given the opportunity to say, foreign skilled workers are only needed upon requests from you, for them to assist.
“My future, in large measure, depends on you, young people and on the next generation. So, we are asking you who will be taking part in this program to show up, listen and learn and stand firm?”
The apprenticeship program was developed by Dominick Roach and the New Life Worship Center, to offers students special training in various vocations, including culinary arts, auto mechanics, plumbing, computer technology, electrical engineering and carpentry.
Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, K. Peter Turnquest, who was also on hand for the program’s launch, noted that vocational education was a key component of the education system back in the 70s and 80s.
“However, somewhere along the line it was decided that lessons were to be more about academics and so the talents of many students were neglected.
“That was to our disadvantage. I believe we are where we are as a result of the abandonment of those programs. So, for New Life to reintroduce those programs to the community means that they are moving in the right direction,” he said.
Turnquest thanked and congratulated the instructors who have committed to this program, “because it’s a major sacrifice.'
Senior Pastor of New Life Worship Center, Rev. Outten thanked all those participating in the program, especially the students and parents.
To the parents he said: “Ensure that your children are here for classes on time, and for every session. This is their time and we want them to be prepared for the future.”
Classes begin in two weeks and will be held every Saturday at New Life Worship Center and Freeport Primary School.