Amid a hiring freeze in the public service and widespread jobs-losses because of COVID-19, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has urged recent graduates of the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies to start their own businesses with the skills they have acquired.
Dr Wheatley made the call at the graduation ceremony held for students who have completed the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) programme.
The CVQ is administered by the Caribbean Examination Council. The Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS) is the only educational facility in the territory which offers the certificate.
Minister Wheatley reminded students that technical vocational studies is at the forefront of the future of the territory’s economy.
“In the past, it would be commonplace for persons such as yourselves just to go to the government and say ‘I want a job’, and sometimes persons got jobs regardless of qualifications. That is not the situation today. The Premier and Minister of Finance is telling you that we cannot employ more persons at this time. That’s why I am here to encourage the young people to start thinking about opening their own businesses,” Dr Wheatley explained.
Meanwhile, VISTS principal, Andrew Francis urged the graduates to forget the stigma that is attached to technical training, adding that they are qualified and competent to find their place in the working world.
“It is a global certificate, so once you leave the shores of the BVI you will be able to present this certificate to say that ‘I am competent as an Automotive Technician, I am competent as a Cosmetologist, I am competent as a Commercial Food Chef or Bartender’,” Francis said.
The graduates received certification in areas such as motor vehicle repairs, bartending, food and beverage, commercial food preparation and cosmetology.
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