BELIZE CITY, Fri. June 19, 2015–Much-needed employment skills were the focus of a job readiness training program which was administered over the last three weeks under the auspices of the Belize Training and Employment Center (BTEC), which is a unit of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE).
After covering courses in career management, personal development, work ethics, communication skills, customer service, among others, a group of 29 trainees were visibly delighted to attend their graduation ceremony which was held at the ITVET compound in Belize City today.
When it concluded, Amandala spoke with Vanessa Johnston, the Training and Recruitment Officer for BTEC, who explained the mission of the organization and the components of the training.
She said, “BTEC is aimed at providing demand-driven training for [various] industries’ specific needs; the first one in particular is the BPO industry which comprises of the different call centers, so that was the technical part of this session.”
“The participants also got training in soft skills which were more catered to professional development and etiquette – how to carry themselves, because we believe that it’s those skills which will make them more marketable and better and well-rounded individuals,” she mentioned.
After the trainees graduate and enter the job market in the hopes of being recruited into the workforce, the facilitators go a step further and attempt to maintain close contact with all past trainees to ensure their well-being.
“We try to call all of them to see how they are doing and try to match-make them with employers when we see vacancies. We’ve never had any negative feedback; all of them are always very receptive and they always look out for their best interest, so they allow us to help them because that’s what we want to do – try and find employment for them and try to make them self-sufficient and independent”, Johnston emphasized.
At the conclusion of the training, the participants were tested on what they were taught during the course. We spoke to a proud Rachel Jenkins, from the Queen’s Square area on Southside Belize City, who got a perfect score on her exam. She told us that since it was her first time enrolling in such a program, she hadn’t known what to expect, but remained positive and found out that the experience was “great.”
She said, “We learned about money management, customer service skills, and resume preparation, which I thought was really good because most of us are young and not sure how to prepare a resume when applying for a job, so I think that was quite important to learn here at this training… I really enjoyed it, I learned a lot, and I plan to pass on that knowledge to others as well.”
Aaron Brown, who is a resident of the Jane Usher Boulevard area, got a score of 94, and he described the program as “a really good thing” for disadvantaged youths like himself who, much too often, turn to a life of crime in the absence of sufficient job opportunities.
“It means a lot to me because I didn’t realize that the society cared for the youths [to that extent]. This program took me off the streets, so it’s positive for all the youth who are trying to find a job, and I advise them to come to BTEC to transform their life”, he told us.
Johnston mentioned that the program is offered countrywide, and that so far, there have been four training sessions in Belize City, one in Belmopan, one in Dangriga, and one in Cayo, which also concluded today with the graduation of another 29 participants from that district.
Those who would like to be a part of the next session of the training program are advised to visit BELTRAIDE’s Facebook page to find out when it will take place or go to BTEC’s headquarters at the ITVET compound on Freetown Road in Belize City to fill out an intake form.