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Some skills you cannot learn from a textbook.

Some skills you cannot learn from a textbook.

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More focus needs to be placed on the development of the skills of students at the community college level.{{more}} This was brought out during a recent stakeholders meeting with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Division of Technical and Vocational Education and members of Government and private sector business. The meeting was held on Thursday, August 25, 2011, at the Peace Memorial Hall.

Making her presentation, Shafia London, former Executive Director of SVG Chamber of Industry and Commerce and managing director of The Bridgehouse hotel and bar, emphasized the need for graduates of the community college to learn soft skills. London stated that academics alone cannot prepare you for the world of work.

London added that skills such as good oral communication and critical thinking skills should be taught at the College. Giving her personal experience of her attempts to sell her product Villamar yogurt to a client, London stated that there are some skills that you cannot learn from a textbook.

She added that college students should have proper e-mail addresses as well as be thought proper interview skills and be taught how to write a proper application letter. She added that business places can assist students by offering them apprenticeship and facilitate workplace tours or Job fairs, exposing them to the challenges within the workforce.

Giving his experience with students on attachment at the Buccament Bay Resort, Training Manager Mel Jamison commended the college on their initiative to have students on placement at the Resort, adding that it was the college which made the first move in requesting the programme.

While stating the experience was good overall, Jamison disclosed, however, that some students did not show up for interviews, some never showed up for work. He, however, added that most of the students on the apprenticeship programme were quite professional and showed interest in their work. Jamison, however, suggested that the apprenticeship should be a part of their overall assessment, instead of placing students on attachment after their evaluation.

Also giving remarks, Former Minister of Technology Jerrol Thompson stated that in spite being small, he believes that St. Vincent and the Grenadines can become the best in new areas that we have never tried before.

He added that the stakeholders must come together, and that an assessment must be done of skills needed to take St. Vincent and the Grenadines to a higher level of competitiveness.

Director of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) Dr. Joel Warrican stated that the college is soliciting the input of stakeholders as they recognize the need for change within the institution, while Dean of the SVGCC Osbourne Bowens stated that the college is concerned about the creativity and innovativeness of the graduates of the college. He added that he wants the creativity and innovativeness of the graduates to rise so that they can be consistent to the rising standard of the industry.

The stakeholders meeting was held under the theme “From rhetoric to reality: Learning for work, Citizenship and Sustainablitily in the 21st Century.”

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