Children of the Louise Garland Thomas High, formerly the Long Bay High School were awed by the variety of business choices presented to them at the institution’s Second Annual Career and College Fair, held at the Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex on Friday, May 13.
Diane Paul told NewslineTCI that that a whopping 41 companies and institutions made up of government and the private sector were on display at what can be regarded as the biggest career fair in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The private institutions ranged from hotels, utilities, healthcare, cosmetology, spas, real estate and auto engineering. The government entities included, InvestTCI, The Attorney General’s Chambers, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Immigration, Customs, the Police, the Financial Service and Supplies Management.
“The Louise Garland Thomas High School goes from forms one to three, and then the students transition to the Clement Howell High School,” Paul explained, revealing that this was the period that they get to choose their subject areas.
“They are now going into the area where they have to choose their subject areas and what profession they want, so they have been going through a series of career development exercises…and this is the big one…the career fair,” the guidance counsellor stated.
“One of the major improvements that we have made to career day this year is that we have more hotels. We have six hotels present here today…including Como Parrot Cay, Beaches, Seven Stars, the Hartling Group, and the Grace Bay Resorts.
“We incorporated hotels, because we find that a lot of our students right now are interested in hospitality and tourism, and so, we try to encourage them because we know that tourism is the number one income for the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Paul further noted.
She also pointed out that the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and the University of the West Indies were also invited to the setup booths.
“The reason why we include the Turks and Caicos Community College is that now we know that the Ministry of Education is embarking on a new programme where students of the Turks and Caicos Islands can get education at a reduced cost. We want them to understand that nowadays you do not have to leave where you are to get a degree,” she said.
Paul pointed out that this year the school, under stewardship of Principal Kordell Campbell-Forbes, took the decision to encompass businesses outside the mainstream of Turks and Caicos.
“We have makeup artists, those of cosmetology and skincare, Invest TCI and also the Turks and Caicos Recruitment Group. Because we want our children to start thinking outside the box that having your own business is possible.
“We also have the sports Department here. Over the years we see the Louise Garland Thomas High School excel a lot in sports. And so, the Sports Department is critical in this area. Of course, we have law enforcement and Border Control…the Police Force, Customs and Immigration, because these are things that we want our students to see not just as a job, but as a career.
“We have Graceway Supermarket here today. The reason why we have Graceway Supermarket here is because they have a lot of professions within their institutions, and we want our students to know that Graceway IGA is not just a Turks and Caicos Institution, but it is an international institution. So, working for a company like that would give you an opportunity to excel elsewhere,” she said.
Paul added: “We have FORTIS TCI here, because a lot of our students, especially the females have an interest in engineering. One of our students even have the idea of renewable energy as one of her interests that she wants to go into. We have the real estate agencies here. So, it is a mixture of organizations.”
Paula Atkinson, TVET Transformation Manager, who was on site, said she was overly fascinated with the variety of entities represented.
“I am impressed with the various applications covered, the level of activity and engagement among the students. It is far-reaching. We do have the presence from the private and public sector. In my opinion, having this representation really reenforces that the landscape is wide in terms of opportunities for students,” she said.
In the meantime, the students told NewslineTCI that they were marveled by what they had seen. Maybel Rigby stated: “I went to InterHealth Canada, and I have been to plenty of places, but my interest is mostly in health and social work.”
Khalyah Pratt, whose interest is in nursing stated: “I went to InterHealth Canada, I went to COMO Resort, the Social Department and the Financial Services and Supplies Management. I think I definitely learned from a lot of the things that they have going on.”
Rezon Carmichael, after seeing the displays and the information, reacted: “I have two interests actually, I am into the engineering department at the hospital and mechanical engineering.”
Emrike Daceus stated: “My only interest is in Invest Turks and Caicos…they give you a grant to start your business, so that is amazing, and that’s what I prefer to do…to start my own small business and to see where I can go from there. I don’t know my small business interest yet, but I am still thinking about it.”
The theme for the day’s event was: “Proactive Thinking for an Evolving Era.”