The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) and the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC) are strengthening ties. The two institutions have a Memorandum of Understanding. Shown from left to right are Member of Parliament for Wheeland and West Caicos, the Honourable, Kyle Knowles; BTVI’s Dean of Construction and Workforce Development, Alexander Darville; Turks and Caicos Islands Minister of Education Labour Employment and Customer Service, the Honourable, Rachel Taylor; Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Honourable, Charles Washington Misick; BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson; Interim President of TICCC, Clara Gardiner and TCICC Dean of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Kevin Baxter.
In keeping with the mission and mandate of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College to retool and upskill the Turks and Caicos Islands’ labour force, the institution signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI). The primary objective of the agreement is to explore opportunities for collaboration to their mutual benefit.
Last week marked another step on the journey to what both institutions hope will be a long and rewarding partnership. This was evidenced by BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson and Dean of Construction and Workforce Development, Alexander Darville’s visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands from March 15th to March 17th, to discuss further opportunities under the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which is expected to be in place for an initial period of three years.
During their short stay, discussions were held on the development of short, online and blended courses and programs to assist in strengthening the TVET machinery within the TCICC and ultimately to address the skills gap in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Examples of these types of programs currently in use at BTVI include the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) trade certification courses and the dual enrolment Information Communication Technology (ICT) program.
Dr. Robertson said he expects the relationship with the TCICC to grow.
“We were very impressed by the strategic partnership approach being taken to address the skills gap. It is clear that there are common problems facing both BTVI and TCICC,” said Dr. Robertson.
TCICC’s Dean of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Kevin Baxter noted that the visit was very useful in establishing next steps for collaboration, adding that the college looks forward to building a partnership that will benefit both training institutions and increase the presence of TVET among stakeholders.
The visit included a courtesy call on the Premier, the Honourable Charles Misick OBE and Minister of Education Labour Employment and Customer Service, the Honourable Rachel Taylor, as well as the TCICC Interim President, Clara Gardiner OBE, Permanent Secretary of Education, Wesley Clerveaux and the TCICC Chairman of the Board of Governors, Dr. Marcella Malcolm. In addition, the BTVI representatives visited high schools in Providenciales and Grand Turk, the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation and conducted a presentation for construction industry stakeholders on certified trades training.
Following her meeting with the visiting team, Minister Taylor, who has dual responsibility for education and employment said, “We look forward to a successful partnership between BTVI and the TCICC. Our aim is to strengthen the TVET program in an effort to bridge the skills gap in our country. Our people will be encouraged to take advantage of such initiatives as they seek to engage in new opportunities to upskill and retool or harness the existing ones.”
Speaking of the immense potential through partnerships of this nature, Ms. Gardiner, also shared her views.
“Providing opportunities to pursue certified workforce-based training and learning, infused with the application of technology, could not be more timely in a post pandemic world. It is my hope that with the support of corporate citizens and individuals, this partnership will be a very rewarding venture,” she said.
Planned next steps include training of trainers, enrollment of participants in foundation and core courses as well as a visit to BTVI by Minister Taylor and officials from the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College to conduct a study tour and explore possible funding opportunities for joint faculty development and similar prospects.