By Christopher Tobutt
Its young people who need the success of a good job and a sense of achievement that goes with it which make sure a country’s future is secure. 11 students Cohort 33 of the Government’s preparation-for-work program, Passport2Success graduated at the George Town Yacht Club on Wednesday May 12. The 16-week course bridges the gap between school or college learning, and applying that knowledge in the real-life world of work. The students are taught that the most important thing is, “Getting up, dressing up, and showing up,” and if they are prepared to do that, well, Passport2Success can usually do most of the rest.
As is usual, the graduates themselves took part in organizing the program. Tre Bodden and Sabrina Suberan were the greeters, making everyone feel welcome, including VIP’s such as Deputy Premier, Chris Saunders, who began by thanking them for the lovely meal. “This is the first government event I have attended since being elected where I got fed,” he joked. Mr. Saunders told them all about own real-life second-chance story, of how when he first went away on a scholarship to study in New York, he spent the first year partying, before dropping out of college with a GPA of 1.69. Later he was told that because he had dropped out, he would have to repay the 20,000 dollars for his school fees, or go back and finish his degree. He opted for the latter, he said, taking it a lot more seriously the second time and being very successful.
He encouraged the graduates to keep on “bettering yourself,” as they embraced the opportunities of life-long learning. “Do not be afraid to make mistakes,” he said, because you can learn from your mistakes…Congratulations. We’re here to work for you guys, well done,” he said.
Kacee Dilbert, one of the graduates, came onstage to present her reflections of what she had learned during Passport2Success: “In the interview I explained what I had been doing with my life, and they said it might not be the program for me because of my long term work she said, but after being accepted she found the other students welcomed her like family. “We had so much fun every day. I thank you for having an open mind and accepting me,” she said, and that she had learned that whatever setbacks you face, you can always overcome them.
Alexander Finnikin came next. He said that he did not feel he was the average passport to success student. “I was fresh out of college...after the interview I was not sure it was going to be a good fit for me,” he said. “Then I got a call from Miss Catherine (Tyson, one of the course facilitators). I am here sixteen weeks later a totally changed person.
Kylie Bell actually graduated in Cohort 32, several months ago, but along with 5 other ex-students, she had been invited to attend the course again so that she could learn even more and encourage the new students. She said that she had learned, “Opportunities arrive at the right place and the right time,” she said.
Next all the Cohort 33 Graduates took part in a rap-style song about all the things Passport2Success had taught them.
Facilitator Catherine Tyson encouraged the students: Thank you all you beautiful young people …that have allowed us in your lives,” she said. “We are all here for you ….the only thing we can’t be is you thank you so much for just being amazing. Remember that the world is your oyster.