“You are the seeds of the future and having qualified you are now being planted in your communities to grow, blossom and bear fruit.”
These words of praise were shared by Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Education, who delivered the feature address to the successful students of training courses in barbering, hair braiding and hair weaving during their graduation function at the bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) Corporate Box, Queen’s Park Oval on Friday, 4 November.
According to Minister Gadsby-Dolly, “These are difficult times, and the country is faced with many challenges, but there is a way forward. You are our ambassadors to demonstrate to the country and other young people that we can achieve our best. We tend to focus on the bad news, but that does not mean that there aren’t good things happening as well. I look around this room and you are all great news. Don’t be afraid to be positive and become shining lights in each of your communities. You all have what it takes, and I look forward to seeing the great things you achieve.”
The celebratory event marked the successful completion of training for 109 persons from Beetham, Maloney, Enterprise, Sangre Grande, Palo Seco and Princes Town, who engaged in cosmetology training between February and September this year.
The Minister also took time to praise the ‘Community Empowerment Collaboration’ between bpTT and the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP).
Sharing words of encouragement on behalf of sponsors bpTT was Ryan Chaitram, communications and external affairs manager, “We’re here to recognise and celebrate the change represented by the graduates present here today. As a multinational organisation, even we must transform, and this is reflected in our commitment to achieving net zero, caring for the planet and improving people’s lives. In terms of the last objective, collaborating with exceptional organisations like YTEPP is key to achieving this goal. Also, having set this goal, it feels great to recognise that you, the graduates, are the realisation of our aspirations.”
In addition to being certified as Level Two practitioners, each of the graduates was accorded a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ), allowing them to travel within CARICOM and offer their services as an accredited professional.
During the graduation ceremony, each community put forward a representative to explain their journeys and convey the essence of their unique struggles and successes. Speaking on behalf of the Beetham cohort was Jamila Patrick, who also delivered an impassioned and inspired performance of the song ‘Conqueror’.
“A friend called me to participate in this course and recognising the value of the opportunity, I recruited others to join me. I always had a passion for cosmetology, but this course really opened my eyes. Apart from the technical training, they taught us business and communications skills, as well as how to deal with customers on an emotional level. YTEPP and bpTT did a great thing by offering us this training and I would encourage anyone with a passion for success to take part in the training and acquire this relevant and money-making certification,” Patrick explained.
Also voicing praise to the achievements of the graduates were Nigel Parris, Chief Executive Officer, YTEPP and Francis Weekes, personal assistant to the Honourable Lisa Morris-Julian, Minister in the Ministry of Education. Weekes explained that the partnership between bpTT and YTEPP aligned with the vision and mission of the Ministry of Education in terms of nurturing young people, who are the greatest asset of the nation.
Delivering both thoughtful and heartfelt remarks was Thora Best, HBM, Chairman of the Board of Directors of YTEPP: “You all have persevered despite the challenges, and we are here to celebrate with you. As a graduate, you are telling the world that you are ready, certified, and competent. Celebrate this moment but let this also be a beginning and I encourage you move on to even greater levels of accomplishment. bpTT is serious about its corporate social responsibility investments and that means that they saw YTEPP as a great partner. That also means that each of you represents the essence of success and add power to our partnership.”