Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute team members have been visiting communities to register students for the National Smart Start Program. The initiative is in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training and others and is aimed at giving students, deemed left behind during the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to obtain workforce readiness certificates.

A BTVI team was on hand at the Celebration of Love event led by Vice President of Fund Development Alicia Thompson who said, “from weekend to weekend you will find us in the various constituencies, you’re going to find us in the mall. Last weekend, for example, we were at the Peace On The Streets tournament where the clergymen were playing against the politicians and so its important.”

According to Ms. Thompson, there has been a positive level of engagement over the past few weeks. She also explained that, “there are students who become disengaged during the pandemic period and we need to engage those. We need to reengage them. So we’re out here now sharing information about that program. We’re actually registering persons on site because we need to get those students to learn a trade and to earn a living.”

Some of the certifications being offered to students across the country, in the first phase of the program, are in mechanics, beauty, construction and fashion trades with plans of expansion based on demand. Ms. Thompson stated, “every single island of The Bahamas is apart of this and will be included. And so we are encouraged. We are in encouraged not only by the efforts of BTVI but also by the efforts of our partners.

Ms. Thompson thanked program partner Urban Renewal and anticipates that some of the training will be available at Urban Renewal centers across the country.

The Smart Start Program was launched by Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, the Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin this past July.