A cosmetology bus will travel to communities in TT to train young men and women in barbering, hair weaving and braiding. The “mobile cosmetology training bus" is the result of a partnership between BPTT and the Youth Training and Enterprise Partnership Programme (YTEPP).
The partnership was hailed by Minister of Education Anthony Garcia as “a significant joining of hands” between the public and private sectors that will contribute toward the socio-economic development of TT and lay the foundation for empowering at-risk youths.
Garcia delivered the feature address at a ceremony to mark the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between BPTT and YTEPP for the skills training initiative which took place at YTEPP’s headquarters, Woodford Lodge, Chaguanas, on November 21.
Signing the MoU were Garcia, Minister in the Ministry of Education Dr Lovell Francis; corporate responsibility manager BPTT Ronda Francis; and Donna Scoon-Moses YTEPP acting chief executive officer. Witnessing the event were YTEPP chairman Thora Best; and BPTT community sustainability and stakeholder relations adviser Joel Primus.
Noting that many people associated vocational work programmes with low academic performance, poor quality provision and blocked future pathways, Garcia said vocational education tended to result in a faster transition into the workplace and self-employment.
Hailing the collaboration, he said the main rationale for developing public/private sector partnerships in education and training was to maximise the potential for expanding equitable access to training opportunities that amply prepared participants for the workforce, and for improving education outcomes, especially for marginalised groups.
“This partnership today is one in which the public and private sectors can join together to complement each other’s strengths in providing educational opportunities through tailored programmes targeted specifically to meet the needs of low-income communities. I implore YTEPP to continue to build productive engagements with the private sector for constant fuelling of the nation’s workforce. I commend YTEPP on its bold initiatives as it looks into the future and BPTT for finding value in partnering with YTEPP,” Garcia said.
Noting that BPTT will be sponsoring the cosmetology training bus for two years, Francis said the partnership could not come at a more opportune time. “As the economy continues to contract, we need to ensure that our young people are offered opportunities for skills development and training that will help them to withstand these challenging times.”
Acknowledging that youths faced disproportionate socio-economic challenges which prevented them from achieving their full potential, Francis said that was the very reason BPTT continued to invest in the youth, not only in its home community of Mayaro but throughout the wider national community. The company has invested some $65 million in education and skill development programmes over the past five years alone.
Expressing the hope that youth who undertake the cosmetology training would be inspired to start their own business, Francis said at the end of the training period, BPTT and YTEPP would award special grants to the most deserving students to assist them in the start-up of their micro-businesses.
She appealed to “our energy partners within the Energy Alliance and wider corporate citizens” to foster more partnerships with the public sector to help create new employment opportunities through education, training programmes and practical work experience.
Pointing out that public sector/private sector collaboration was an integral part of YTEPP’s operations, Best welcomed the partnership and expressed gratitude that “BPTT feels confident to align its name with YTEPP, adding that “there is energy in this partnership”.