Government officials along with Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) board members and executives recently toured a site in Greencastle, Eleuthera as a potential site for BTVI’s Eleuthera Campus.

National access to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is growing as the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) expands to more islands across the country. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Technology and Vocational Training, the institute is preparing to launch classes this month using the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training school sites initially.

With hybrid and virtual modes of education already connecting Family Island students to various BTVI programmes, its physical campus presence will follow in Abaco and Exuma.

Minister of State for Education and Technical and Vocational Training, the Honourable, Zane Lightbourne, along with other government officials and BTVI executives recently toured the Greencastle, Eleuthera site which has been identified as a potential location. Minister Lightbourne underscored that technical and vocational education and training is the way that the world is headed.

“The majority of The Bahamas’ workforce is technically inclined. When students are exposed to and learn trades, we have a healthier society. Every Bahamian is entitled to education and access is very important.”

He added that, “BTVI, as the leading tertiary institution for technical training in the country, needs to be prevalent in all islands to service all our people. There is an ongoing push for all citizens to have the opportunity to be certified in various trades.”

BTVI Interim President, Dr. Linda A. Davis, underscored that partnering with the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training ensures that trade opportunities can not only reach school children but all members of society.

“All that BTVI has to offer in Grand Bahama and New Providence will now be accessible on the island of Eleuthera with our physical presence here. We are looking to provide technical and vocational training across the Construction and Mechanical, Beauty, Fashion, Information Technology and Business trades. The establishment of a physical site in Eleuthera will signal out commitment to offering classes throughout the business week, during evenings and on weekends,” Dr. Davis said.

She continued, “We have been very fortunate. A few months ago, BTVI hosted the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) craft instructor trainings and so now we have a cadre of NCCER-trained persons. With these individuals and partnering with the teachers in our school system, we believe the training can be leveraged and can go a long way. BTVI will continue instructor trainings so that we not only dig deeper into the Ministry of Education’s educator resource pool, but also so that technical trainers and educators, who are desperately needed, can be added to our country’s school system.”

BTVI’s expansion to the Family Islands comes at a time when employing trade-certified persons on a large scale poses a national challenge. With an expanded physical presence, technical and vocational education and training will allow persons to remain on their island of choice while becoming certified and therefore more employable.

Longtime educator and past principal, Andrea Carey, serves as the point of contact for BTVI’s Eleuthera programme offerings.