Mark Fraser (L) and his mother, Kelcene Kelly (R), were among the 226 graduates in BTVI’s New Providence class of 2022.

When Mark Fraser crossed the stage to receive his certificate, his mother, Kelcene Kelly, was not cheering for him from the audience like other parents and supporters. Instead, she was adorned in graduation regalia and sitting nearby as a fellow member of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute’s (BTVI) Class of 2022.

The mother and son duo are a part of the 226 graduates of the New Providence Class of 2022, who earned a wide variety of certificates, diplomas and degrees.

Kelcene earned her Office Assistant Certificate, while Mark earned his Plumbing Certificate. Despite the difference in subject matter, the pair shared similar triumphs and challenges associated with college life.

“BTVI was a great experience, but there were some sleepless nights and huge challenges like turning in those homework assignments every week,” said Kelcene.

For Mark, “BTVI was a lot of things” because he transferred from another college and initially struggled.

“When I first got into BTVI, it was different from where I was before and I failed a lot of classes. I eventually got tired of failing and wanted to prove to myself I could achieve things like everybody else. I wanted to show them that I am a hardworking person,” said Mark.

Kelcene and Mark did not consider being enrolled in BTVI together a hindrance but rather a source of motivation to make it to graduation.

“Being in school with my son was not a big deal. I loved telling people that my son and I were attending BTVI at the same time. However, we did not get to see one another on campus much because his classes were in the morning and mine were in the evening,” Kelcene said.

Mark emphasised that rather than any apprehension related to going to college with his mom, his focus was on not giving up.

As for next steps, the pair will use their academic achievements to do well in a competitive work world. Kelcene also plans to return to BTVI in the fall semester as she and Mark continue to “climb the ladder of success”. As stressed by BTVI’s Interim President, Dr. Linda A. Davis, at the 2022 commencement ceremony, individuals can graduate from the institute as many times as they choose. Encouraging graduates to be lifelong learners, Dr. Davis invited graduates back to BTVI to continue their educational journeys.

BTVI is the primary educational organisation which provides technical vocational education and training (TVET) in The Bahamas. Programmes range from Media Technology, Electrical Installation, Information Technology and Electronics Engineering to Fashion Design, Cosmetology, Human Resources Management and Auto Mechanics, among others – some of which include international certifications.

The institution offers job-ready, professionally certified nano degree courses, National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certifications, professional development courses (PDCs) and specialised training for organisations as a part of its continuing education training. BTVI is also a City and Guilds Centre and a CISCO Academy.