After completing fourteen weeks of training in Hospitality Services, Office Procedures and Information Technology, 79 students received their certificates during a graduation ceremony at the National Training Agency (NTA), Thursday, November 1, 2018. The training, which included 10 weeks of technical skill training and mandatory work force preparation, has equipped the young people for the country’s workforce. Gadville McDonald, Executive Director, NTA, said from all indications and according to results, Cohort 9 this was the “best” cohort in the history of the agency. Mr. McDonald commended the students for their success in the new Information Technology (IT) skills training, for the 100 percent passes in the Office Procedure external City and Guilds exam, some obtaining credit and special credit, and for their achievements in the hospitality discipline.
“This cohort has been a part of many firsts. You’ve been able to participate in the launch of our digital certificate block search using blockchain technology, which is a first for The Bahamas and this region. This is a big deal. No longer will you have to walk around with your physical certificates but you can actually carry them around in your smartphones. “You’ve benefited from our intentional strategy of reducing the train the trainer ratio resulting in smaller classes with greater attention being placed on learning outcomes specific to your success in the workforce,” said Mr. McDonald. He remarked that the NTA is a leader in competency-based training in The Bahamas and is fulfilling its mandate of creating a training and job placement system that is dynamic and responsive to the demands of The Bahamas workforce and employment. “We are considered a go-to agency for employers who are seeking qualified, entry-level employees. The staff can tell you that our phones ring off the hook every day looking for qualified Bahamians who can serve at entry level efficiently in various departments,” he said. In the keynote address, the Hon. Elsworth Johnson, Minister of State for Legal Affairs, who represented the Hon. Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour, said the Bahamas Government is committed to creating a highly productive, competitive and competent workforce.
He told the graduates that the government continues to invest in them because it understands the need for ongoing competency-based training. “We believe that every Bahamian should have the best chance to participate in our economy, regardless of academic or financial status.” He encouraged them to be the greatest model of what is good about the Bahamas’ workforce: courteous, hardworking and disciplined. “Employers today constantly complain about the entrants to the workforce. Please make the NTA proud, make me proud – be positive at all times, show up for work every day, no matter how you feel, go the extra mile and most importantly never stop learning. “The National Training Agency continues to be a trailblazer in soft skills training and the overall development of our young people. In its short lifespan, the agency has trained 5,000 young Bahamians. For this year alone, some 600 young persons have been trained, inclusive of the seventy-nine graduating tonight. “In addition, the agency is currently training more than 260 youth under the Citizens Security and Justice Programme, a key government initiative geared towards increasing employability and employment among at-risk youth between the ages of 15-29. The first part of this training is scheduled to conclude within the next two weeks,” he said.
Thirty-nine percent of the graduates have already received full-time employment and the NTA is making efforts to ensure that the remainder of the graduates is successfully employed. They will be placed in the Ministry of Labour’s Public Employment Services database to ensure their successful placement in the workplace. The students received certificates, pins and special awards in the various disciplines including food and beverage service, food preparation, housekeeping, butler services, office procedures and IT.