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C.C. Sweeting Work Based Learning Programme students urged to defy the odds

  • Former Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Permanent Secretary Elma Garraway, second left seated, spoke to the recent graduates of the C.C. Sweeting High School Work Based Learning Programme. She is pictured with C.C. Sweeting School Principal Joan Gray, left, Ministry of Education Northwest Superintendent Howard Newbold and Work Based Learning Programme founder and former C.C. Sweeting Principal Delores Ingraham.

  • Michael Hanna receives the top academic student award from the C.C. Sweeting High School Work Based Learning Programme during its recent graduation ceremony from Elma Garraway, former permanent secretary. PHOTOS: PATRICK HANNA

Guardian Lifestyles Editor

Published: Jun 12, 2013

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Graduates of the C.C. Sweeting High School Work Based Learning Programme were reminded that they might never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that as they graduate high school they should decide to be strong, confident A-grade employees.

Elma Garraway, former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, told the members of the sixth graduation class, of which Micheal Hanna was the top academic student, to decide that with determination, hope and commitment they can achieve their goals.

“It is my prayer that you will make wise decisions and remain safe as you move forward, upward and onward in your new role as a responsible adult, citizen and proud alumni of C.C. Sweeting Senior High School,” said Garraway.

For those students seeking further training and educational experiences, Garraway reminded them that financial aid was available for them at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute and that short courses can be found on a part-time basis in most of the technical and business areas.

The former education permanent secretary, who was also an educator, said it’s never too late to learn anything their mind’s can conceive of.

“You must be prepared to defy the odds [and] intend to win,” said Garraway.

The former permanent secretary shared with the young men seven traits identified by the American Association of Technical and Vocational Education sent to her by Dr. Iva Dahl, the manager/consultant at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute, that she said would ensure success once followed — attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation.

“Positive people are in short supply, but are in high demand. Display good manners at all times and never let anyone determine how you should behave,” Garraway said.

Garraway told them to be on time every time, as punctuality speaks to character and will give their supervisors an impression about how they feel about their jobs. She reminded them of an old adage: “The early bird catches the worm.”

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Dress the part you were hired to play or would wish to play,” she said.

The educator also said that their ambitions would show that they value knowledge and to always learn, read and continue their educations and training.

“Exceed the expectations of those around you and show that you are invaluable to your employer. My advice to you is to write down three goals you would wish to achieve. Look at them every week and evaluate how you are working to achieve them,” she said.

Garraway reminded the graduating students to be accountable and people of integrity. She told them to always demonstrate that they can be trusted to complete all tasks assigned without being watched.

“Be honest in all things, and be the kind of person you would trust to work for you,” she said.

She told them that they always need to be accepting of rules and regulations of the job, the country and the Bible and to respect authority and those placed in leadership positions.

“Be a good team player. And remember that in order to be a leader you must be a good follower,” she said.

The former teacher reminded the graduates to always show appreciation and to go beyond the call of duty to give good service and be reminded that every satisfied customer is a repeat customer. She told them their supervisors would value their service.


The program

The C.C. Sweeting Work Based Learning Programme is an all-male cohort started in September 2007 by the school’s former Principal Delores Ingraham. Its motto is: “It’s Better to Build a Boy than to Repair a Man.”

The main objective of the program is to act as an intervention for twelfth grade male students — to reduce the dropout rate among high school male students who are challenged academically; to ensure that the students participating in the program achieve a skill/trade; to provide students with the opportunity for gainful employment. (If they work well enough on the job, the company may hire them for the summer and then full time); to expose the students to hands-on, on-the-job training opportunities; improve the number of male students satisfactorily completing high school; and provide participants with the opportunity to sit the Bahamas Junior Certificate examination for math, English language and health science if they have not done so.

Students attend school twice per week to receive instruction in the core subjects and report to the work site of their career choice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are mentored while acquiring a skill as they are exposed to various skill sets like air condition repair, auto repair, bodywork, landscaping, plumbing, hotel training, videography and welding while still completing high school.

Over 120 students have passed through the program since its inception. The program has an 80 percent completion average.

Current Work Based Learning Programme work sites are E & U Watercoolers, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Junkanoo Beach Resort, Superclubs Breezes and The Royal Bahamas Police Force Garage.


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