Eleuthera, Bahamas – On February 15th, 38 Apprentices began a life changing journey that will give them new skills and hopefully create new long-term job opportunities over the next 12 months.One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF), in partnership with The South Eleuthera Mission (SEM) hosted an orientation of the Centre for Training & Innovation (CTI) which will facilitate such change and advancement.

The program commenced with an exciting orientation of a new cohort of 22 female and 17 male Apprentices. This number was added to a group of existing Apprentices for a total of 60 individuals.

The first three weeks of the program commenced with an extensive orientation and training process. The first week involved tours to the culture and brand of OEF while introducing Apprentices to the physical projects of OEF and its partners. It also functioned as an educational tool that inspired and evoked a sense of national pride and community involvement. Week two, Apprentices participated in BahamaHost Training. A recognized certification will be issued to each successful participant once they complete the end of course exam. In week three, students were taken through a myriad of sessions that included acting out scenarios from various topics covered during BahamaHost as well as safety briefings.

Enthusiasm shined radiantly through each Apprentice’s eyes. Participants seem to be hopeful, seeing CTI as an opportunity for them to improve themselves and their lives.

“I want to expand myself and try learning something new. This is a stepping stone for me”, said Apprentice Shenika Campbell.

 “CTI is a great opportunity for improvement to get jobs and this will let Eleutherans get certifications they need. It’s a great opportunity to expand ourselves”, Apprentice Campbell continued. 

A male Apprentice is thrilled for the opportunity to learn and believes CTI will give people purpose.

“I want to better focus, and hands on job experience, and improve my landscaping skills”, said the male Apprentice.

“CTI will help young people stay out of trouble and give them a purpose. They will have something to do and can improve themselves”, he continued.

Team, family and community were a few of the key words that reigned throughout the past few weeks. “We are a family, so once you become an Apprentice you join the family”, said Executive Director for Partners in Education and Director of Programs for OEF, Mr Errol McPhee.

Mr Shaun Ingraham, CEO of One Eleuthera Foundation challenged the Apprentices to reach out and help each other beyond CTI. “This is an opportunity to learn and earn. What’s most important is that you take responsibility for yourself and your community”, he said.

The CTI program ultimately seeks to enable benefits by creating a positive cycle of employment and community investment. It aims to combine training with innovation and be a program that will not just offer training, but teach students life skills and how to develop businesses as well. One of CTI’s goals is for people to start their own businesses or help to expand existing businesses. Relevant training, and expanding and increasing small businesses is critical for increasing employment and development on Eleuthera.

“CTI is more than just a program and Apprenticeship, CTI is a plan for your life”, Mr Ingraham told Apprentices.

CTI Apprentices will work on actual projects of One Eleuthera Foundation and its partners, supervised by skilled practitioners who are also trained instructors. The program will also include formal classroom training, personal development, soft skills and business and financial planning.

Apprentices are encouraged to process, integrate and apply their learnings through discipline, reflection and planned interfacing encounters. A graduate of CTI will display the areas of influence in their lives by the way they work, the way they live, how they relate to others and through their involvement in their communities. 

There are three distinct areas of influence in the CTI Program: Training, Innovation and Personal Growth.  Beginning in September, CTI will also offer BTVI certification programs in tiling, electrical, plumbing and carpentry with hopes of adding more disciplines in the coming year. In this way, students do not have to go to Nassau anymore and can obtain the same program certification on Eleuthera. Persons who are interested in training with BTVI are asked to call in to register for the entrance exam. Those in possession of Math and English BJCs with grade C and above are able to bypass the entrance exam and register immediately for BTVI courses.

Although the Apprenticeship Program will run for 1 year, the application process for CTI remains open, therefore interested persons, especially high school students, are encouraged to apply. The curriculum will not only offer technical courses, but also expand to include disciplines like culinary arts, hospitality management, business, computer science and beekeeping among other subject areas. Additionally, special interest courses such as nonprofit management, foreign languages, emergency medical technician training will be also offered.

Further, CTI is working on partnerships with College of The Bahamas, Drury University and other colleges allowing students to at least obtain their first year basic college requirements on Eleuthera. Agreements are also being worked out with institutions for online courses.

To assist in making these opportunities affordable for persons, CTI is seeking to establish a scholarship fund. In future, students who are eligible will be able to make application to receive such assistance. 

One Eleuthera’s desire is that students of CTI will be distinguishably different as they exhibit a positive attitude to life and a commitment to serve and participate in the ongoing development of the island of Eleuthera. 

“Every one of you here can set your own goals and limits. You can set it as high as you want to”, Mr Ingraham encouraged each Apprentice.

“You can go great places if you believe in yourself”, local Farmer and CTI instructor for Agriculture, Bishop Daniel Nixon encouraged Apprentices. 

For more information on this and other One Eleuthera projects and events, visit www.oneeleuthera.org.