The Daily Herald reported that Cerissa Steel was introduced by Elyane Paul, the director of the Dutch Caribbean Council for Education and Labor Market (Raad Onderwijs Arbeidsmarkt Caribisch Nederland ROA-CN) publicly introduced, as the new ROA-CN adviser and trainer of on the job trainees on Saba.
ROA-CN is the only institution for the Caribbean Netherlands recognized to accredit local entities for vocational studies and practical training and advises the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) on the potential development of vocation trainings in the region.
As the only entity tasked to develop and monitor the qualification skills to be implemented in the job site internship they facilitate feedback between educational institutions and the local labor market. Local companies that wish to be recognized by as vocational education training program establishments should register via www.roacn.com and starting this month by contacting Cerissa Steel. She is the new contact person for ROA on Saba and will be organizing branch meetings, give trainings and workshops for on the job trainers.
Steel was among the eight candidates for the vacancy last summer and she secured the position in September due to her particular professional experience in administering for many years Saba’s Social Youth Development Program (SKJ) holding several positions with the Foundation Social Workplace Saba (FSWS).
“We are very excited to have a local person working for ROA, someone who knows the island and the community while also having the professional background of working with SKJ,” said Paul. She added that Steel, while on maternity leave until recently, has already started getting to know the team and the local stakeholders she will be working with.
Steel is well-known and respected in the community as one of the few native young Sabans who returned on the island and gave her best at improving the professional prospects of locals by helping many of them to reintegrate into the workforce.
She worked with FSWS for about four years promoting the Adult Continuing Education Center, first as adviser and course coordinator and later as director of the foundation. Her position at the time facilitated the integration of several Sabans into positions made available by island government-owned or subsidized entities.
She is also one of the island’s most successful entrepreneurs having opened the island’s only café, the Saba Coffeehouse. Together with her husband they turned the business into one of the trendiest hang-out places on the island before selling the profitable business to another young couple.
Steel says that while working with FSWS she learnt a lot about the expectations and challenges she would face in her current role as ROA-CN adviser. She has a good grasp of the students’ interests and the best suited career opportunities for them.
She intends to use this knowledge in directing the educational certification process on the island. Steel is in a unique position working with the Saba Comprehensive School teachers, their vocational track (MBO) coordinator Tracy Zagers but also facilitating communication with the accredited companies, the local Chamber of Commerce and the business associations.
Her insights and advice will carry weight with the OCW in what are the best educational tracks and local market opportunities to be developed and pursued on the island. She hopes to open-up better communication between the companies, school and students to create a better working atmosphere that best-serves the interests of the community. In two to three years students on the vocational trajectory would be able to obtain their MBO2 diploma she says stressing that the objective is “to get our own people back into the labor market so that not so many people have to be brought from far away.” For that to happen she hopes that a lot more businesses will seek ROA accreditation.