Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 20, 2017 (SKNIS): The future of the Advanced Vocational and Education Centre (AVEC) looks bright, says Director of the institution, Clyde Christopher, who has over the years brought the school to new levels of success.
In an interview with the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS), Mr. Christopher shared that he served first as a teacher at the institution from 1999 until he was asked to be the Director in 2011.
Mr. Christopher had a vision, coupled with the one that the Ministry of Education had for AVEC, and went full force to see it to fruition.
One of the major aspects he looked at was the stigma attached to the institution. The misconception was that it was a place for high school dropouts and uneducated persons. The physical appearance of the building was not particularly appealing to the eyes and there was also a shortfall in the tools and equipment needed for classes. Mr. Christopher developed a three-pronged approach to improve the school.
“I decided that as an immediate impact I needed to change the physical appearance,” he said. “So, I set about lobbying with the Ministry and other entities to find out what can we do to change the face. We got the place repainted, we got some additional structures like gazebos built, plants put in and the overall physical appearance was changed.”
Public opinion of the school started to change, said the director. The opinion and attitude of the students also changed. He revealed that past students were very complimentary of the renovated school, noting that the improvements were conducive to learning.
“That’s the effect I wanted. I wanted people to see something different,” he said.
The other aspect was to ensure that the facility was adequately outfitted with the requisite equipment.
“We were able for the first time to get an automotive shop that was well outfitted and modernized to look like a real automotive shop. The construction, hospitality and computer room all received new equipment to help with the learning and teaching of the subjects,” said Mr. Christopher.
AVEC is now at its final stretch of the vision, which is to put proper systems in place to ensure that the delivery of the programmes is relevant.
“Our goal is that when an individual leaves AVEC they are leaving with something credible; something that has some worth to it; something that employers recognize,” he said. “They will have something that will even get them into the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC). For all this to happen, you must have a proper curriculum in place and the correct approaches to the delivery of our programmes. Even some staff members were trained assessors for the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ), because we want to be able to deliver it properly.”
The Caribbean Vocational Qualification or CVQ, as it is commonly called, is modeled on a competency-based approach to training, assessment and certification.
Employers have commended the school, said the director, adding that they are impressed with the trainees during their internships with various companies. This can be attributed to their practical training “and therefore they know what they are doing,” he said.
“They know what they are doing and that is what the employers want. Some are even hired before they finish their course while they are doing their internship. We try to work with them while they are employed so that they can finish,” he said.
Mr. Christopher added that his time at AVEC has been very rewarding, as he has seen good results.
“I have seen folks leave here who I am absolutely proud of, which makes this whole thing worthwhile. It’s a plus to the efforts of the instructors who are here because they would have put in yeoman’s service to ensure that these persons leave here better than they came in,” said Mr. Christopher.