CDB consultants begin work on BTVI multi-million dollar project

Oct, 30 2019

Caribbean Development Bank consultants to BTVI are Project Coordinator, LaToya Johnson (L) and Project Manager for Institutional Strengthening, Gabriella Fraser (R).



President of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), Dr. Robert W. Robertson recently announced the appointments of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) consultants to BTVI’s multi-million dollar enhancement project.

Project Coordinator is LaToya Johnson and Project Manager for Institutional Strengthening is Gabriella Fraser. Dr. Robertson expressed delight in welcoming the pair to the team of a project which is expected to revolutionize BTVI over a two-year period.

The CBD’s loan and the government’s contribution are approximately $4.7 million each.

Ms. Fraser is an economist by profession, who is also a researcher and analyst. Her career achievements have been in administration, policy and regulation across key sectors of the Bahamian economy, including, higher education, tourism, financial services and the electronic communications sector, in areas of administration, policy and regulation.

Noting that BTVI is critical to the country’s socio-economic development, Ms. Fraser said it has an essential nation building role to play that often seems widely under-appreciated.

“Over the life of the project and following the project’s conclusion, I hope to see a changing narrative that helps strengthen this appreciation not only through greater awareness, but also through strategic partnerships that add important value to the BTVI brand,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Ms. Johnson has been a project consultant for over 10 years, providing technical and business consulting services to engineering, business firms and non-profit organizations.  Prior to consulting, she was a Network Engineering Specialist at one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United States where she provided support to over 100 network operations centres on the East Coast and technical expertise for large capital management projects.

Ms. Johnson‘s role is to monitor the day-to-day operations of the multi-million dollar CDB project, coordinate the selection of consultants needed to execute project deliverables and provide regular project updates to all stakeholders on the progress of the project. 

Some of the matters that the project will address over the next 24 months include rehabilitating and upgrading existing classrooms and laboratories to provide better working spaces, an improved governance and management system, an enhanced capacity for quality technical and vocational education and training delivery (TVET), and a skills enhancement program in the Family Islands.    

Ms. Fraser pointed out that her role will look at the institutional framework of BTVI and its overall capacity to meet its education and training mandate with a view to identifying opportunities for greater effectiveness and efficiencies, while developing actionable pathways to achieve those goals.

Ms. Fraser said under the improving governance and management systems component, strategic planning will be a priority, including development of a business plan for BTVI and a corresponding implementation plan to ensure a road map for action. A strategic marketing plan is also part of that priority.

Development of a campus master plan is another important initiative. Ms. Fraser said this kind of planning is fundamental as a building block and guide for development and enhancements in other areas.

Enhancement of student services to strengthen inclusion and responsiveness to student needs is also a key area, as is crime prevention and campus security. Another priority is the enhancement of human resources and financial management systems.

The improving governance and management systems component will also address the need for a tracer study system.

“This will be critical to assessing the transition of BTVI graduates and former students into employment, and how well they would have been prepared for the labour market…it should be an important tool for continued strengthening of the institution’s connectedness to industry and ongoing industry developments. As a data source for students’ post BTVI achievement, the information compiled through the tracer study system will be important to national discourse and policy,” said Ms. Fraser.

Under the capacity component, instructor training and upgrade will be a priority. The family island component is intended to enhance BTVI’s outreach, to support targeted skills development needs, driven by industry demand.

Both consultants said they are looking forward to working with BTVI’s team.

“I look forward in particular to sitting with members one-on-one first to create a visual of the institutional aspirations in the various functional and service areas, then doing the work of articulating the needs, identifying the issues and challenges that must be addressed in order to meet these aspirations,” said Ms. Fraser.

“It’s critical that we’re as thorough as possible in creating a complete picture of every situation. We want to get the leg work right so that our action planning is solution based, best fit and comprehensive,” she added.

Ms. Johnson expressed confidence the project team will obtain the full support of the BTVI team.

“This is as we work together over the next 24 months to enhance the learning environment at BTVI. I expect that BTVI will be seen as the premier technical and vocational institute in the country that will attract and retain students as they chart their future career path or upgrade their current skills. The BTVI enhancement project is on the move.”