Pictured from left to right are BTVI’s Smart Start Coordinator, Valderine Major, and Urban Renewal’s Bain and Grants Town Centre Manager, Rosalie Thompson.

Urban Renewal leaders made a commitment to recruit Smart Start #dontcountusout participants following an informational meeting recently hosted for them by BTVI.

Photo: BTVI

The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) and Urban Renewal have teamed up to change the lives of young persons who were expected to, but did not, complete high school in 2020, 2021 or 2022. Urban Renewal is using its country-wide network to scout for these youth and have them register for the BTVI workforce readiness programme dubbed Smart Start #dontcountusout.

Urban Renewal leaders made this commitment following an informational meeting recently hosted for them by BTVI.

BTVI’s Interim President, Dr. Linda A. Davis, said Urban Renewal was a clear choice when calling on community partners to assist in recruiting young people.

“BTVI is aware of the large footprint Urban Renewal has made in constituencies across The Bahamas. From tutoring programmes to character development workshops, Urban Renewal is on the ground and connected with residents from Grand Bahama to Inagua and virtually every island in between. This is the reach BTVI’s Smart Start programme endeavors to achieve,” said Dr. Davis.

The 12-week full time or 24-week part time Smart Start initiative allows participants to earn a certificate in Automotive Mechanics, Beauty, Construction or Fashion at no cost to them. The programme includes a 30-hour service-learning, apprentice-type component  which is incorporated in partnership with industry and business partners. The curriculum also stresses employability skills, professionalism and the importance of positive character traits.

The Urban Renewal Commission’s Chairman, Mr. Stephen Dean, described the Smart Start programme as a positive shot in the arm and is a viable option for Bahamian youth who desire a successful career.

“BTVI has taken the initiative and opened the door to a second chance at life for many members of disadvantaged communities. Those who are normally marginalised now have more hope. For Urban Renewal, we saw this as a great opportunity aligned with our vision and mission,” he said.

Mr. Dean also emphasised that Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, Lisa Rahming, is one of the many government officials that fully endorse the Smart Start #dontcountusout initiative.

Along with recruitment support from politicians and community organisations, BTVI is inviting companies in the private sector to become involved in the Smart Start programme or assist in equipping them with starter tool and equipment kits needed for any of the four certificate programmes currently available.

The Smart Start programme began in Grand Bahama mid-July and will be launched next month in New Providence. A rollout across several Family Islands will follow by the end of September, early October. Registration is ongoing and interested persons, community organisations or businesses can email [email protected] for more information.