SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – On Thursday, September 5, 2019, the NIPA Technical vocational institute graduated 94 inspiring students in the construction field. In the presence of parents, partners,family members, peers and high ranking officials representing all stakeholders in this project , graduates received certification in areas ranging from Electrical Installation, Plumbing, Carpentry, General Property Maintenance, and Masonry.
The program, which commenced in August 2018, is an initiative birthed by the AVE Board, and partially supported under the umbrella of the Early Recovery Income Support Program of the Trust Fund, funded by the Dutch Government and managed by the World Bank. Speakers on this joyous and celebratory occasion all joined and echoed sentiments of encouragement and perseverance to the graduates and challenged them to pursue even higher goals.
In his welcome speech Mr. Blomont ,General Director of NIPA, highlighted that the devastation caused by hurricane Irma two years ago, also created opportuinities where NIPA has become the center of technical and other vocational programs being now the institute that SXM aimed for since its inception in 2013, namely training skilled professionals for the local industries.
This construction training initiative has now seen over 200 graduates in total, with an intent to continue this program , where the 3rd cohort is slated to commence on September 16, 2019.
The Government of Sint Maarten, in the words of the Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Wycliffe Smith, and Steering Committee member of the Trust Fund also speaking on behalf of NRPB, Mr. Marcel Gumbs, both affirmed long-term financial commitment to this initiative, ensuring its sustainability.
Together with other speakers, Mr. Chris Johnson on behalf of the Dutch Government, and President of the MIC-IT Institute Professor Dr. Ir. Clement Imbert, the training provider in this Construction program, emphasized the importance of building and investing in people besides the physical construction of buildings.
Valedictorian Shannon Bell was the living example of these sentiments, highlighting achievements and thanking all who made this possible giving special thanks to the instructors, her peers, and family.
The ceremony was closed off with a construction helmet drumming session, symbolically ‘throwing the graduation hat’.
Pictures of the graduation can be viewed on Nipa’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NIPASXM/