Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 30, 2021 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Education has made significant investments in the area of technical and vocational education in an effort to create a more skills and trade-based workforce for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
On November 26, 2021, the Advanced Vocational Education Centre (AVEC) held a professional development industrial visit for its facilitators to help broaden their perspectives in relation to curriculum development according to the Director of AVEC, Mr. Winslow Brookes.
“We decided to do two industrial visits as part of our professional development sessions, and in line with the mission statement for the institution which is to create greater awareness of the opportunities that exist in technical and vocational education. We saw it fit to visit the various organizations so that we can get a better understanding of how we can adjust our curriculum to cater to the needs of the various industries. One of the things we have been experiencing in the Federation is that of skills mismatch and so we want to find a way to mitigate these problems. So, this tour exposed us to a wide variety of skill areas that are very much in demand and so it is imperative that as instructors we return to the institution and develop a plan of action for the various industries.” said Director Brookes.
As part of the professional development tour, facilitators visited the agriculture department where assistant secretary Mr. Kyle Carty conducted a tour of the various areas—the abattoir where senior health officer Mr. Crispin Woodley engaged the staff, and lastly a tour of the Park Hyatt Hotel guided by the mechanical supervisor, Mr. Javan Huggins.
AVEC cosmetology facilitator, Ms. Petra Newton who was part of the professional development session highlighted a different side of the skills avenue and the impact it would have on planning going forward.
“This was an experience for me because it showed me a different side of the skills avenue. I realized that we do not focus enough on skills but a lot on academics and most of what I saw were electrical, chemistry and other areas. We need to push our youths towards skills. A lot of the time the guys said they had to bring in skilled persons, which is importing skills when we should be exporting because we have persons who are skilled right here. We need to move away from you need to be a doctor, you need to be a lawyer. We need the persons in charge to understand that it is a process and in order for us to achieve our goals we have to see the vision for the future in an effort to reach our children better,” said Ms. Newton.
The Director for AVEC, Mr. Winslow Brookes also indicated that this year all courses offered at the institution were filled to capacity with some prospective applicants being asked to reapply for the next academic year. AVEC has a wide range of courses on offer including refrigeration, welding, general construction, motor vehicle repairs, and plumbing just to name a few.