Local News

2014 Fresh Start Program launched in Grand Bahama

by: Ashley Penn, News Reporter

Some 80 students gathered on Saturday morning at an orientation for the spring edition of the Fresh Start Program at BTVI.

The initiative propelled by the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture featured technical training opportunities in fields such as Welding, Acrylic Nails & Weave Hair Styling, General Maintenance, Quick Books and Customer Services/Sales.

Encouraging the lucky students who were chosen from 170 applicants, Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville said the students should embrace the opportunity provided for them.

“Today it is my pleasure to be a part of the launch of the 2014 Fresh Start Programme, a 15-week employment skills program that is geared toward you, the youth of our country and designed to equip you with the skills and experiences that are necessary to successfully find and retain a job or to become successful entrepreneurs,” he said.

“There is no question that many of you here today, experienced great difficulty finding gainful employment, especially those who lack the basic qualifications that employees are requiring these days,” Darville continued.

The Minister for Grand Bahama also said the initiative will permit students to apply skills they have learned from the Fresh Start Program in the workplace.

“The Bahamas is providing you 80 participants through this program with a second chance to receive the training and tools necessary to help you to find gainful employment and to successfully function in the workplace,” Darville said.

Imparting words of wisdom to the privileged group, Minister Darville told the selected few to push forward with their efforts to successfully complete the program.

“Remember that you cannot give up and failure is not an option.  

“Set your mind, soul, and heart upon doing everything necessary to complete this program and to become the best you can possibly be,” he concluded.

Also, Director of Youth, Darron Turnquest gave his thoughts on the undertaking.

“We want to just really give them another opportunity that would permit them to receive some technical skills that would readily equip them for the workforce,” he said.

Turnquest went on to say, “Getting them ready for the workforce, these are things that they can take away to actively begin the job searching process and where they’re able to work using the skills they would have gotten from BTVI.”

Pleased to see the continuance of the program, Turnquest said he hopes to increase the number of students for the next cycle later this year.

“We have seen some really hard hit young people in this community.  

“Some who have been out of school for about four years who have not worked a day in their life and so it is important for us to do this type of thing.  

“We’ve increased it from 60 to 80 young people in the program and from what I see, should the budget permit we’ll increase it even more so we’re happy,” he concluded.

Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture Coordinator of Programs, Carla Brown-Roker said the incoming students show great promise and she anticipates working with them.

“This is the largest Fresh Start class that we’ve had and the success has been so phenomenal and I am really welcoming these 80 participants… They are all going to succeed,” she said. 

Brown-Roker also pointed out her findings during the interviewing process of the program.

“In the interviews one thing that we noticed is the amount of young men that were coming in.  We were very pleased to see that many of them knew what they wanted to do and they were quite confident and they were basing it on the industries on Grand Bahama,” she said. 

“The other thing that was really pleasing was their desire to improve themselves and to further their studies even after the Fresh Start Program,” Brown-Roker added.

This cycle of students are set to complete their course by this summer.

Published  Monday, March 17,  2014

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