Eleuthera, Bahamas – This week, under the Center for Training & Innovation (CTI), One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) and The South Eleuthera Mission (SEM) joined forces with Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) to provide free skills training to nearly 100 Eleutherans. Sponsored by One Eleuthera Foundation, the training was made available free of charge.

“We have recognized that there are no post high school academic or vocational/technical institutions on Eleuthera to prepare school-leavers and others for the world of work”, said Mr. Errol McPhee, Managing Director for The South Eleuthera Mission and one of the coordinators of the training held this week.

“As a result, we have partnered with BTVI to assist with basic training in areas that are beneficial”, he continued.

The six-day training began on August 17 at Central Eleuthera High School in Palmetto Point covering courses in General Maintenance such as Tiling, Carpentry, Plumbing and Electrical Installation. Taking advantage of this opportunity were persons from as far as Current Island in the North and Bannerman Town in the South including 12 women and 78 men ranging in age from 16 to 66.

“Of equal importance, the large majority of school-leavers are not academically inclined and therefore need to develop some type of skill to survive in the local community or the nation at large”, Mr. McPhee said with concern.

In The Bahamas, 50% to 80% of public school students do not graduate, 16.2% of Bahamians are unemployed, and more than 30% of youth, ages 15 to 24, do not have a job. The need to improve education outcomes in an effort to increase the employability of Bahamians is most evident. OEF is investing in activities on Eleuthera that are necessary to provide opportunities that make achieving this goal possible 

Participants of the training were grateful for the opportunity to learn and develop skills they can utilize.

“I want to thank everyone involved for giving me this chance to better myself and for the rest of the young men that are taking part”, saidJulian Morley, a participant from Eleuthera Island Shores.

Alexander Darville, Dean of Construction Workforce at BTVI is hopeful about the future of the program on Eleuthera and the skills students have learned.

“I think this is a great opportunity for the future of Eleuthera in reference to when investments happen there would be persons on the ground ready to start assisting the more skilled persons coming in”, said Mr. Darville.

Even better news for Eleutherans is that this training is only the beginning of what One Eleuthera has in store.

“OEF is jointly developing The Center for Training and Innovation (CTI) that will be based out of the Rock Sound Club property”, said Mr. Shaun Ingraham CEO of the organization.

OEF through CTI plans to continue developing partnerships with national and international institutions to facilitate training in the future in areas such a construction, hospitality, management, health care, business and computer technology.

According to One Eleuthera, future courses will not be free, but they do have a solution to assisting those potential students who are not able to afford training.

“This initial training is the beginning of our extensive technical and vocational programs and the catalyst for our apprenticeship program”, said Mr. McPhee

The apprenticeship program, currently being developed by OEF and partners, will allow students to attend classes and complete practical training on actual job sites.  Participants will also receive a stipend for their work which will be applied to fees for courses they take, giving them the ability to afford training.

“This is not just about providing training for Eleutherans, but training them to become more actively involved in their own economic development”, said Shaun Ingraham, CEO of OEF.

One Eleuthera Foundation is a Bahamian nonprofit organization that works through other organizations and people to provide opportunities for Eleutherans to make better lives for themselves. OEF does this by improving access to quality health care and education, and fostering sustainable development practices that encompasses Eleuthera’s cultural, heritage and environmental assets to create a stable economy.

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

For more photos click here.