The Apprentice program graduates 4

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 17, No. 18            May 3, 2007

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A total of four apprentices successfully completed 12 weeks of training in the ACSC/Chamber of Commerce first ever Ambergris Caye “Apprentice Program”. A small graduation ceremony was held on Saturday at the San Pedro Town Hall’s conference room where invited guests, mentors, apprentices and family were present for a warm reception.

    Esteemed guests included Mayor Elsa Paz, and Maureen Williams, Community Rehabilitation Officer for Belize City. Opening remarks were done by President of the ACSC, Steve Spiro who welcomed the guests to the occasion. That address was followed by an overview of the Apprentice Program which was done by Jules Escalante of the Chamber of Commerce. Next, the businesses/employers addressed those gathered and gave a brief overview of the 12 week experience they had with their apprentice. The four businesses included: Einer Gomez (Ramon’s Village), Dennis Sunderman (Tropic Air), Michelle Chub (SunBreeze) and Oscar Gutierrez (Victoria House).

    Tom Vidrine, President of the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce was on hand to award the certificates of appreciation to the respective businesses mentioned. Mayor Elsa Paz partook in the occasion, as well, with the handing out of the certification of completion to the apprentices. The successful candidates include: Lupita Villanueva who was an apprentice as an office assistant, Yuri Uk who apprenticed as a waitress, Cindy Medina who was an intern as an office assistant and Diego Sedasy who was an intern in the field of landscaping and electrical work. The employers were impressed about the work and progress that they had put in during the program and granted two interns a full time position with the company.

    After the closing remarks by Steve Spiro, those present celebrated with a huge cake, refreshments and caught up on the upcoming program that will kick off this month, May. Many agree that programs such as these that aid in the transition from school to work, continuing education, job-readiness and life-skills training, play a major role in helping youths attain self-sufficiency.

    The Apprentice program is geared in helping youths gain hands-on exposure and basic job training skills that are needed and are essential in today’s work field. This Apprentice program is defined as a program that integrates school and workplace learning by emphasizing learning under the guidance of mentors, and which addresses the personal and occupational development of young people.

    In the 12 weeks period, students got to choose a desired field from a list that includes: tourism, maintenance, office work and other fields, just to name a few. The areas cover the basic and most important aspects an individual should know and how to apply them in the work place including; personal relations (people skills), communications, customer service, interviewing, resume writing and an introduction to social security and labor laws.

    In order for an intern to have successfully completed this program they completed 240 hours (12 twenty-hour weeks) of on the job training in the specific area and 24 hours of general classroom instruction.

    ACSC/Chamber of Commerce is inviting youths to participate in the upcoming program and enhance the experience. Apprentice interviews will be held for two days, May 18th and 19th. Mentors are needed as well, this person is required to be mature, counsel and play a big brother role. Businesses interested in recruiting participants can do so on May 7th to 22nd by contacting the ACSC or Chamber of Commerce for further details. Orientation will be on Thursday, May 24th at 6:00 p.m. with a dinner and the program will start on June 4th, 2007.

    Kudos to ACSC, Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Social Security for spearheading the Ambergris Caye Apprentice Program. Also, congrats to Yuri, Diego, Lupita and Cindy for a job well done!
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