Freeport , Grand Bahama Island– Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville said September 3 that it is his mandate to promote the advancement of education and employment opportunities in Grand Bahama.
Dr. Darville’s comments came as he participated in the official launch of the Petroleum Products and Measurement Course pilot programme at the Pelican Bay Resort.
The Bahamas Oil Refining Company and Statoil have teamed up to sponsor the course to senior high school students, with 21 students from the Bishop Michael Eldon School taking part in the startup sessions.
The two companies agree that the petroleum industry is one of few striving industries both locally and internationally, and the training of young people will be beneficial to the island for career building within the industry and also aid with supplying the industry with knowledgeable applicants.
Proposed training times are once weekly with different representatives from various companies showcasing their field of expertise.
Dr. Darville noted that with the high rate of unemployment in Grand Bahama his Ministry realises that they must capitalise on opportunities that are available on Grand Bahama and engage young people in the vocational skills and training required to perform in needed jobs in the industrial sector.
He reminded the audience about the economic crisis adding that Grand Bahama has suffered much and that if it was not for the industrial sector, it would have been even worst.
Continuing, the Minister for Grand Bahama, pointed out that the island’s strategic geographic location, as well as its state of the art transshipment facilities allow for diversification of the economy through the development of trade and industries.
“Therefore, we recognise that we must expand, reform and reinvent our educational system to prepare for the explosion that is about to happen in the industrial sector here on Grand Bahama.
“Students and teachers, we must face this reality and admit the fact that our school’s existing curriculum does not adequately address the need for growth and development that currently exist here in our industrial sector and, the major players here on Grand Bahama in liquid oil products like BORCO and Statoil. We need to offer courses similar to this throughout our schools,” he stated
Dr. Darville said the programme being offered will begin the necessary process of bridging a gap that seemingly exists between the high schools and technical schools on the island.
He further stated that programmes like this one will allow students to begin the training from high school for key positions in the industry and that it will also act as feeders for the industry itself.
He said we must be able to train our students to take these jobs and reduce the hiring of expatriate workers on Grand Bahama.
“It is imperative that we chart a new direction in education. Education must be tailored to our student’s interests, and capabilities; and more relevant to existing needs in the job market,” he stated.
He reminded all that the Progressive Liberal Party’s charter of governance speaks to a reformed educational system that is technologically sound and competitive; and one that focuses on the development of our children’s strength.
Stressing that Bahamians must receive the type of education needed in order to contribute to the island’s development, he told the gathering that programmes such as the one being offered would undoubtedly foster those opportunities.