The long awaited Skills Training Center located at the former Venus bus terminal on Magazine road, finally opened its doors today, as the Ministry of Education held a student orientation and launching of the program.
The center was built to provide unskilled and unemployed youths, primarily from south side Belize City, with employable skills.
As part of the first day orientation process, the first intake of students got introduced to their first life skill lesson, one on HIV and AIDS offered by the folks at PASMO. Manager of the center, Enid Oshun says its important everyday life skills like the one offered by PASMO, which will add to the wholesome education to be offered at the new training facility.
Enid Oshun - Manager, Skills Training Center
"I really excited about this day because it really marks the day when this center will open its doors to those young people who really and truly need to get some assistance through the acquisition of skills. And so, this center is geared toward providing such opportunities to those youths who may have dropped out of school, and those who may have wanted to go to school, but did not have the right kind of support, be it financial or parental support. So those are the youths we are working with. The skills that we are offering right now, we have the front desk, which falls under the hospitality, IT repairs, sewing and barbering. Those are the 4 that we're starting off with for this first cycle, which will run from January to June of this year."
"What's the response been like from the community on a whole?"
"I would say that it's overwhelming because from the time we started to promote the program, we kept calls and visits, and interestingly, we even have people outside of the target group, the 14-18, and we are working at accommodating all of them. Right now, we have 99 students who have pledged to start the program, who have come in to reconfirm that they will be a part of the program."
"They're going to turning out dozens of youth providing them with needed life skills, and the practical skills that they'll need to go out there to join the work force, but will they have jobs once they leave here?"
"Well, it is a multifaceted approach that they will be able to take advantage of, in that whenever they finish the training here, they could choose options like getting back into the school system for those who did not complete a formal education, they could get into the apprenticeship program, they could go back to ITVET, or the most important, those who are eligible could get and create employment for themselves."
"Has the institute determined a fixed curriculum?"
"Well, we not have a fixed one per say, where we will be offering over and over. In terms of our support courses, yes, we will make sure that we offer those as constants, but as the demand arises, we will have other programs coming on stream."
The center accepts youths between the ages of 14 and 18. Classes will formally get underway this coming Monday, January 9th.