Over 30 young adult learners beamed with gratitude as they celebrated the culmination of what was deemed a “life-changing” learning experience that saw them gain improved confidence in their writing and communication skills.
This took place at a virtual graduation ceremony on Thursday, November 17, for the National Transformation Initiative’s (NTI) Technical Vocational Transitional Literacy Programme (TVTLP). The thirty-one graduates were trainees of the Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps (BYAC), which falls under the Division of Youth Affairs in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment.
Earning distinctions and Super STARR Bajan Awards were Kemel Jeffers-Spooner, Kishmar Miller, and Joshua Newton for exemplifying consistently positive characteristics, traits and conduct required for successful learning. Jaheim Alleyne, Tyrese Gill, and Amekhia Gibbs-St. Mark received Rising STARR Bajan Awards for their persistence and significant improvement overall.
TVTLP, facilitated by adult literacy educator Rosaline Corbin and her team, prepared trainees to achieve functional literacy skills and knowledge required for entry-level competency in their technical and vocational programmes of choice
“TVTLP is a programme of empowerment… it does not only teach our trainees to communicate effectively. Our trainees, by extension, will also see positive changes in their attitudes, behaviours, and perspectives on life,” affirmed BYAC Recruitment Officer Claire Garnes.
“This really is a life-changing programme”, Garnes added. Since TVTLP started last year with its pilot, Garnes said it continues to positively impact the lives of the BYAC trainees.
Her sentiments were reflected in the number of heart-warming testimonials given by students and parents, including Class Ambassador Joshua Newton. Like his fellow graduates, Newton spoke of enhanced confidence and improvement in areas such as CV writing, letter and essay writing, vocabulary, and understanding.
Pride and smiles filled the virtual ceremony as students and parents shared their appreciation for the high quality of the training, teachers, and NTI and BYAC teams. They expressed special thanks to lead facilitator Mrs. Corbin and her team consisting of Senior Assistant Facilitator Dr. Corbin and Assistant Facilitators Glendine Hewitt and Quinn Corbin.
Along with proud students, parents and teachers, speakers included Dr. Allyson Leacock, Director of the NTI; Melissa Nurse-Herbert, BYAC Senior Programme Officer (Ag.); Markiesha Alleyne, NTI TVTLP Coordinator; Samuel Bowen, Senior Tutor at BCC; and Carlos Husbands, BYAC Counsellor.
Expressing pride in the students’ choice to start and complete the programme, Dr. Allyson Leacock encouraged them to use TVTLP as a starting point to pursue their passions.
“Believe that you are enough, you have what it takes, and you got this…You have a tool now that no one can ever take away from you. It is a tool to help you better communicate your ideas, perspectives and your concerns so that your voice can be heard,” she reassured them.
“nti.org.bb allows you to pursue your passions through eLearning without judgement… It is one of the beautiful opportunities available to you and every single Barbadian, free to do when you want and how you want,” she added.
The NTI delivered the eight-week programme to trainees of the BYAC. Classes commenced on July 12 to improve reading comprehension, writing skills, fluency in oral and silent reading, word recognition and oral expression. Since completing the literacy programme, graduates have successfully transitioned to programmes at Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) and Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP). This cohort of trainees is the second set of students to graduate from the NTI’s transitional literacy programme. The first set graduated on October 10th, 2021, and successfully pursued TechVoc programmes at various institutions.