A total of six apprentices effectively completed 12 weeks of training in the Ambergris Caye Education and Support Committee’s (ACES) third installment of the “Apprentice Program”. A small graduation ceremony was held on Saturday upstairs at Fido’s Courtyard where invited guests, mentors, apprentices and family were present for a warm reception.
Esteemed guests included Mayor Elsa Paz, and Vice Chairman for the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce Jan Brown. Opening remarks were done by President of the ACES, 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. He commented that the program has far exceeded their expectations and the experience that each apprentice has gotten is very valuable.
Jan Brown addressed those gathered and gave a brief thank you to all the businesses who took part in the program. “Some of these businesses have done it for more than one Apprentice installment. It takes a lot of dedication and patience to be part of the program 12 week experience. We wholeheartedly thank them all.” The four businesses included: Tropic Air, El Pescador, Victoria House, and Rico’s at Banyan Bay Villas.
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. 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. 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 for the third session include: Emilette August who apprenticed as an office assistant at Tropic Air; Ever Blandon apprenticed for El Pescador in maintenance dealing with electrical, plumbing and painting, whilst Scott Charles apprenticed as a kitchen assistant at Victoria House specializing in baking. Miguel Martinez apprenticed for El Pescador as Bartender, whilst Gregorio Rosado took up a waiter and kitchen assistant role at Rico’s Bar and Grill at the Banyan Bay Villas. A sixth participant, Faron Reyes also received his certificate with this session, although he completed his training with Tropic Air in the airplane maintenance aspect in October.
After the presentation of the certificates, Marilyn Marx who is one of the founders of the program spoke about the upcoming fourth session of the apprentice program. Session four will start on May and end in August, 2008. For interested parties, interviews will take place on Thursday, April 17th and Saturday, April 19th from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. upstairs at Fido’s Courtyard. An introduction to the classes will be held on Saturday, May 17th and Sunday, May 18th, with workplace orientations on Monday, May 19th.
Who can be an apprentice? Well, if you are between the ages of 15 to 20, you are eligible to participate but should take these pre-requisites into consideration: You need to possess a social security card, must be willing to commit 20 hours a week to the Apprenticeship for 12 weeks, and this program is solely for training and should not be considered a job, it pays $1 per hour.
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. “All of the graduates of the Apprenticeship Program should be very proud of their selves. By completing the Program they showed dedication to improving their lives by gaining new skills. Congratulations Graduates on a job well done,” stated ACES spokesperson.
Kudos to the Ambergris Caye Elementary and Support Committee (ACES) in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Social Security for spearheading the Ambergris Caye Apprentice Program. Also, congrats to Emilette, Ever, Scott, Miguel, Gregorio and Faron for a job well done!