Females breaking barriers
Two young females are breaking barriers in the vocational arena, having both studied and secured carriers in the construction industry.
Lanique Brice and Santana Dean – 2018 graduates of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) – are employees of DTEC Plant Services LTD (DTEC). As a DCO Energy subsidiary, the company is responsible for managing the maintenance and operations of the chilled water plant and emergency backup generator that provides cooling of air conditioning systems for the entire Baha Mar property.
In 2014, Lanique attended a seminar that DTEC held on BTVI’s campus and now holds the position of lead operator at DTEC.
Not only has Lanique completed an Associate of Applied Science degree in construction technology and a certificate in electrical instillation at BTVI, she is back at the institution pursuing a third program – heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), which she is expected to complete in the fall of this year. Lanique is a strong believer in the education BTVI provides and appreciates that it fits her learning style.
“I’ve noticed that I’m a hands-on learner and BTVI allows me to use that ability to my advantage. Even though I get theory in the process, I love the fact that I get to take things apart and put them back together,” said Lanique.
Lanique has been employed with DTEC Plant Services for the past three years. Though there are challenges, she loves her job and the fact that it allows her to wear many hats. Some days she is an HVAC technician, a chemist, a plumber, an electrician, a mechanical engineer, a diesel mechanic or a project manager – most of which are taught at BTVI. She hopes to one day become the vice president of operations.
DTEC has been so impressed with the quality of students produced by BTVI, that they often seek BTVI graduates for employment. The company recently hired 15 interns from BTVI immediately after the completion of their internship at DTEC.
DTEC Vice President Sandy Smith stated that the company learned that experience and exposure to the industry were lacking and to change that, the company wanted to provide additional exposure to students pursuing careers in the industry.
“Through BTVI’s job fair and the internship program, here we are with 15 interns that demonstrated proficiency in subject knowledge, communication skills, propensity to learn and enthusiasm to apply what they have learned at BTVI,” said Smith.
One of those interns was electrical installation graduate – now DTEC maintenance operator – Santana Dean.
Santana has been employed with DTEC for the past nine months and enjoys every moment of it. She loves that she gets to learn something new every day on the job and is thankful for the instructors that taught her firm methods to adapt to any work environment.
Santana was awarded for being the most outstanding graduate in the electrical installation program for 2018.
Meanwhile, BTVI Dean of Student Affairs Racquel Bethel believes that the hiring of 15 interns shows the strong confidence that industry has in the BTVI product.
“At BTVI, we train our students for direct entry into the workplace. Today’s employers are looking for candidates that are job ready. For this reason, we find that the majority of employers seek out the BTVI student because they know that that student would have received practical ‘real-world’ experience and skill rather than mere textbook knowledge and limited exposure to the real world,” said Bethel.
BTVI not only provides students with trade skills to get the job done, but they also instill soft skills such as teamwork, communication, time management and work ethics. The institution develops the skills of its students as well as their character.
BTVI President Dr. Robert W. Robertson notes that more participation by women with technical and vocational skills is increasing globally. In many cases this increased female participation in the labor force helps bridge the skills gap and builds a stronger national economy.
Sandy Smith also expressed that DTEC continues to choose BTVI because its curriculum has the basic ingredients that provides the technical education building blocks for varied skill sets that are best suited for their industry.
DTEC has a staff of 25, all of whom have passed through BTVI’s classrooms. As long as there is a vacancy, DTEC plans to continue hiring BTVI’s products.