With more success stories from the Jennès Vocational Skills Training Programme coming to the fore, interest in the life-changing programme continues to build.
Miranda George-Arthur took the Digital and Creative Entrepreneurship course since she has a profound love for everything technology and art. After deciding to close down her internet cafe, partly due to the effects of COVID-19, she struggled with the decision on which direction her company, TechtronKnights, should take.
“I knew I wanted to go fully digital, but I found myself at a standstill as to what exactly would be done in the new direction,” said George-Arthur. “When I read about the programme offerings for the Jennès initiative, I was immediately drawn to the Digital & Creative Entrepreneurship programme. This programme has a combination of both Information Technology and Art, which would give me qualifications, enhance my skills, and create a new direction for my company.”
She said the programme’s excellent selection not only fine-tuned her website building and designing skills, but taught her entirely new skills in app development and audio and visual production, skills she had never thought of pursuing.
“This programme has had a huge impact on my personal development,” George-Arthur admitted. “It is very hard to find opportunities like this, which not only give you training, but also certification for a craft or profession that you truly love. This gives me a form of validation for my skills and talents on an academic level. With the qualifications I obtained from this programme, I have an academic foundation to build on in a field that has sparked something truly remarkable in me.”
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) sponsors the Jennès Vocational Skills Training Programme which is administered by Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC). The main purpose of the programme is to upskill Saint Lucian youth and women so that they can participate positively in Saint Lucia’s economy.
Participants receive vocational training skills in Health Aide, Digital and Creative Entrepreneurship, Hospitality, and Early Childhood Development. The objective is to help these individuals develop skills that are immediately marketable and give them access to specific job opportunities within those sectors. George-Arthur said she started receiving business opportunities within the group of students who did the course with her. She noted that while collaborations are often feared, hard work and similar vision can drive small businesses into opportunities which are overlooked.
She also made a presentation on Technology at the Harbor Club last August, and also used her IT skills to assist the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) in collaboration with the Taiwanese Embassy which hosted a two-day Business Canvas Workshop in Soufriere for youth and women.
“These opportunities, among others, I believe, are building a strong foundation for my business,” she stated. “To anyone thinking of taking this programme, I’ll say this: Never limit yourself by thinking of time when doing something which will be beneficial to your personal and professional development. One may think that they don’t have enough time, but the truth is we are the masters of our own time, and once we grab the hands of our own clocks, there’s no telling where and when it may lead us.”
In July last year, 76 students graduated from Cohort One of the Jennès Vocational Skills Training Programme, with 9 of them qualifying for US$2,500.00 in angel grant investment, including George-Arthur. To date, 25 vocational graduates have finished business coaching and received angel fund in accordance the business summary and strategic plan respectively.
In October, another graduation ceremony was held for 73 graduates who completed Cohort Two of the Jennès Vocational Skills Training Programme, and 56 who did the Business Incubator for Start-up Enterprises Programme.
Aside from the vocational skills training component of the Jennès Programme, there are also a business coaching component and a pitch competition showcase.
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) encourages students to remain committed to pursuing their dreams by taking advantage of the opportunities being provided to them.