April 13, 2021
A comprehensive program, developed and delivered by the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institution (BTVI), has resulted in 135 participants strengthening and gaining new soft skills. The four-week program, in conjunction with Revive Academy and the Citizen Security and Justice Program (CSJP), included, but were not limited to topics such as communication skills, resume writing, social netiquette, problem solving, time management, critical thinking, personal branding and job search skills.
The goal is for there to be 1,000 beneficiaries of the free program managed by the Ministry of National Security and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Heading the soft skills program at BTVI is Dean of Student Services, Racquel Bethel.
At a recent certificate ceremony for the first cohort, Minister of National Security, the Honourable Marvin Dames, lauded the program and its significance.
“This is the culmination of research and hard work. I believe in the CSJP and all the components it has to offer. Soft skills are the foundation of which we build our lives and careers. Without them, you can’t succeed in any job environment… I am proud of initiatives like this,” said Minister Dames.
Minister Dames encouraged those who successfully completed the program.
“You have made a conscious decision to rise up and be counted and because of that decision, your future is now brighter,” he stated.
A 2020 BTVI skills gap survey - completed mainly by local Chief Executive Officers - revealed that being a good team player and the ability to solve problems, are two of the challenges when hiring potential employees.
Additionally, BTVI President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson, noted that one of the reasons the program was created was to facilitate the continued reduction of crime and violence in The Bahamas.
“COVID-19 has brought about very trying times that can result in some persons becoming desperate and choosing to perform criminal acts. As the premier technical and vocational institute in the country, we urge you to never stop learning because once you have skills and an ambitious drive, you can earn a living. We see it with our graduates all the time,” said Dr. Robertson.
He added that soft skills are crucial from the security officer at the gate to executives in the boardroom.
BTVI’s Chairman, Kevin Basden added that soft skills are paramount in the workplace. “While your technical and academic skills can get you a foot in the door, it’s those soft skills which will keep you in the door. No matter how technically skilled you might be, if your time management skills are off, if your communication skills are wanting or if your workplace ethics are below the threshold of integrity, begin numbering your days at that organization,” said Mr. Basden.
He added that although the program is free, he urged those who participated to see it more as an investment in them.
Mr. Basden thanked the IDB for its funding and the Ministry of National Security for managing the initiative, thanking them for the confidence they have in BTVI to deliver the program. Students participated in blended learning modalities, accessing BTVI’s virtual learning platforms along with in-person classes stationed at the Ministry of National Security’s community centres namely the Edmund Moxey, Quakoo Street and Fox Hill Centres.
Meanwhile, participant, Roselyn Taylor, spoke during the certificate ceremony of wisely using her free time after being made redundant because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She heard about the soft skills training and quickly applied. She described it as a "worthwhile investment,” which she “highly recommend(s)."
"It is an excellent program, filled with practical information we can apply in real life, from knowledgeable instructors...I feel revived. Literally,” she said.