The Daily Herald writes that following a month-long intensive training session the Dutch Caribbean Council of Education and Labour Market (Raad Onderwijs Arbeidsmarkt Caribisch Nederland-ROA CN) recognised this week a large group of job trainers, who will consolidate the vocational education effort on the island.
Saba’s ROC CN advisor and trainer Cerissa Steel assists local companies in accrediting and training job trainers for the vocational programme. She held two such workshops during the month of August and in a ceremony this week, she handed diplomas to those who completed the course.
From the public government sector, Jonas Charles and Kyle Wycliffe Rawlins, representing the Employment Opportunities, and Russell Thielman, supervisor of the Public Works and Sanitation Department were recognised.
With increased interest in the agricultural sustainability of the island, the Department of Agriculture was well represented by Department Head Randall Johnson and Vector Control Inspector Jerry Hassell.
The private sector was represented by Glenda Caines, manager of Kawvaw Supermarket in The Bottom. She joins peers from other stores, who had already been recognised.
The non-profit sector on the island also joined ROA CN’s spearheaded efforts with new additions, such as Elka Charles-Simmons and Anastasia Simmons of Saba Girls and Boys Sport Society after School Programme becoming accredited. Saba Conservation Foundation Trail Ranger James Johnson is also among the new trainers.
Steel says her institution “is very excited to have these members as job trainers and wishes them much success with future students. Investing in the vocational education of our youth today is investing in our labour market tomorrow.” She stresses her belief that by working together with all employment sectors on the island a more accommodating and stable job market can be created. This drive to consolidate vocational education on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba attempts to reduce local dependence on skilled foreign labourers, whilst addressing the challenge of local youth off-shore migration and unemployment.
ROA CN works on the three Dutch Caribbean islands targeting an improved compatibility between vocational education programmes and the actual needs of the local labour market. Advisers such as Steel on Saba gather insights into the prospective demands for the local workforce and translate these into vocational curriculum criteria to ensure job-readiness for the local youths. Steel believes that “good training companies are essentially important for the labour market of tomorrow.” By joining the programme, local employers are securing the long-term labour stability of their service sector. Trainers help youngsters discover a particular industry and share their knowledge and experience preparing potential future employees to fit their professional standards. At the same time, accreditation in programme shows a commitment to serving the local community and protecting the long-term prospects of the service sector by ensuring the inflow of properly educated personnel.
For a local company to be recognised, it must adhere to requirements, such as ensuring it offers students a safe learning environment. ROA CN recognises that guiding students in their vocational practice education requires skills and managerial attention. This is why Steel and representatives on the other two islands provide training in preparing the job trainers for challenges they may encounter. These courses and followup meetings help trainers focus on practicing teaching skills and in assuming the roles of educator and evaluator.