The twenty women and two men who have been sponsored by the People Employment Programme (PEP) to do a six-month training that will afford them the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) certification were in their own class when they presented, to a team from PEP led by Project Manager, Mr Geoffrey Hanley, their first production: computer generated flowcharts.
So perfect was their work that judge of the day, Ms Gail Cranstoum, the System Administrator with the Ministry of Health was momentarily left near speechless. When she found her speech, she said: “I want to give first prize to everybody, but unfortunately, it can’t happen.”
According to Ms Cranstoum, a masters’ degree holder who is a former student of the Averil Archibald College, all the flowcharts were good and added that she could see the creativity and time and effort that had been spent on all of them.
“If your piece did not win, I do not want you to feel downhearted in any way,” consoled Ms Cranstoum. “This is development – your personal development and I could implore you to take this training seriously, never underestimate the value of this institution.”
Before the students learnt who the winners were, they assembled outside the college for the guests who also included PEP Consultant Ms Telly Onu, PEP Training Coordinator Mrs Celia Christopher, and Ms Jeville Connor of PEP’s Coordinating Unit to settle down. They then majestically marched into the classroom in a single file walking in measured steps, to the tune of Vangelis ‘Chariots of Fire’.
After reading their short and precise mission statement, ‘Committed to Excellence’, invocation was offered by Ms Archibald’s assistant and PEP intern Mrs Renitta Francis who also rendered a solo. Ms Archibald made presentation of a new computer-based filing system, Electrofile, which she has developed.
The students could not wait much longer, and when Ms Cranstoum announced the winners, they were: Ms Chalice Singh in the first place, Ms Sanez Joseph in the second place, and Ms Monique Johnson in the third place. Three students, Ms Shontel Vanterpool, Ms Vernlyn Zakers, and Ms Kamiela Lawrence were given the chance to give a more detailed description of their flowcharts.
Addressing the students, PEP Project Manager, Mr Geoffrey Hanley, told them that when he walked into the classroom that morning, he was extremely impressed with their entire appearance which he noted was an indication that they are truly preparing themselves for the world of work.
“I am a part of the programme and I like to feel part of the success,” said Mr Hanley. “It therefore means that we have to send the right messages throughout the programme, in saying that you must be professional at all times, not only when you are with Ms Archibald, but even when you are on the road. I am not saying that you ought to be angels, but we would expect that you govern yourselves accordingly.”
The course, which started on March 11 this year, takes six months and according to Ms Archibald, she is training them with the hope that they will get a job in the office, whether in the general offices or in the various departments like the accounts department, but for them to operate in an office environment.
“We started with life skills, customer service, money management, and we are going on to other areas, payroll management, and financial literacy for everyday living,”observed Ms Archibald. She also pointed out while they are being trained to be Administrative Assistants, computer literacy is part of the training, whose skills they demonstrated by producing the flowcharts.
She said that the Professional Day was a necessity since the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) hinges heavily on being professionals, because what they do, they should do it in a professional way, and they are taught how to do it.
“The job we are hoping that they would get, they really have to present themselves as professionals,” commented Ms Archibald. “So the day was earmarked for them to first of all, their appearance and you saw how nicely they dressed. I gave them A-1 for that, the appearance, the attitude, the general behaviour. That is what we were trying to project – Professional Day you have to project yourself as a professional.”