135 individuals graduate from BIT programmes in Reg. Five

For 16-year-old Shakira Campbell, learning a new skill amid the COVID-19 pandemic was better than staying at home doing “absolutely nothing.”

She is among the 135 individuals who graduated on Friday from the agro-processing training offered by the Board of Industrial Training’s (BIT) National Training Project for Youth Empowerment (NTPYE).

Speaking with DPI, Shakira said she decided to participate in the training because of her mother, a former employee of the NTPYE. She said she could not refuse the opportunity to fully equip herself with the knowledge and skills to become a small business owner.

“I grow up at the National Training Project for Youth Empowerment (NTPYE) and so it was a no brainer. But I did not like staying home from school especially due to the Covid and so I decided that I need to go out and do something which led to today’s event.”

Graduates at Friday’s ceremony

Like other graduates, Shakira is thankful for the opportunity amid the pandemic and hopes that similar opportunities would be made available to empower others. Moving forward, the 16-year-old intends to use her new skills to create products for her mother’s shop.

“My mom has a shop where we used to sell things like fruits, pickled items among others and so the plan is to push more products at a reasonable price.”

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, MP, viewing some of the items created by the graduates

Delivering the feature address at the ceremony, Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, MP, told the graduates that education is indeed the key to success.  He pointed out that the approach has helped in the development of communities countrywide. 

“What is responsible for the development of all of these communities is what was drilled in us that there is only one way that we can get out of poverty and that is via education… you have a responsibility to yourselves and your children to help in the community development like your ancestors”

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, MP

This approach, he said led to the establishment of BIT and as such, the Government will continue to provide resources to ensure similar programmes are offered to the nation’s future leaders.

Minister Hamilton added that BIT will also be focusing on empowering more women to allow them to become independent.

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, MP, viewing some of the items created by the graduates

Permanent Secretary of the Labour Ministry, Bishram Kuppen shared similar sentiments.

“The certificate, which you will receive today will not be of much use unless you take the opportunity and the necessary steps to bring you to where you need to be for it to make a difference. You must take steps, little steps or major steps to bring you closer to your goals. I can tell you this that when you reach obstacles, they are there to be overcome.”

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, MP, viewing some of the items created by the graduates

He also urged the youths to continue to advance themselves so that they can enter the workforce.

The graduates between the ages of 16 to 45 completed courses in commercial food preparation, welding, garment construction and agro-processing among others. Region Six Chairman, David Armogan and Region Five Vice Chairman, Rion Peters were also present at the ceremony.