Apart from the thousands of students who are graduating from various academic institutions across the country, a group of 24 individuals between the ages of 16 to 30 years old walked the aisle today after having completed 10 weeks of skills training in three different areas.
The training – which encompasses computer proficiency, customer service, hospitality and sewing – was facilitated by The American-Belizean Technology and Education Center (ABTEC) through the auspices of The Salvation Army in Belize to assist unemployed youths to find gainful employment within the scope of their skills training.
Amandala spoke to the Deputy Director of ABTEC, Stephanie Betancourt, after the graduation ceremony, and she discussed the rationale behind the program and how the training will also help to equip the graduates with the qualities required to be contenders in the work force.
She said, “It’s a program geared towards teaching skills to people under the age of 30, and I teach the Computer and Information Technology program where we educate the students how to use Photoshop and other computer programs.”
Betancourt explained that her experience has been pleasant so far, especially since the students have been very responsive and mannerly, and most of them have always made an effort to be punctual and to attend classes regularly.
She stated that such programs are useful because many students graduate from school but are not able to find a job due to limited skills; the training program is therefore structured so that the participants can walk away with adequate expertise to launch an entrepreneurial career and eventually build their own business.
According to Betancourt, the customer service and hospitality programs are aimed at aiding students to attain language skills and develop phone etiquette for those who wish to work at the different call centers in Belize, while the sewing program teaches individuals to be skillful in domestic sewing, for example, learning how to cut material for upholstery.
Today’s graduating class – which was made up of 4 males and 20 females – was the organization’s second intake, and Betancourt informed us that they will be starting a new cycle of trainees on July 7, 2014.
The training sessions are provided free of cost and are funded by Just Us Belize and the United States Embassy.
ABTEC plans to add more programs, such as video editing, to the list and expand their services to the rest of the country in the future so as to enable more people to acquire skills that will equip them to find work or obtain better-paying jobs.