~Rebuilding is about investing in people~
CAY HILL – The National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) technical vocational institute graduated 94 inspiring students in the construction field on Thursday.
Graduates received certification in areas ranging from Electrical Installation, Plumbing, Carpentry, General Property Maintenance, and Masonry in the presence of parents, partners, family members, peers and high-ranking officials representing all stakeholders in this project.
The program, started in August 2018, is an initiative of the AVE Board. It is 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 Sergio Blomont, General Director of NIPA, highlighted that the devastation caused by hurricane Irma two years ago, also created opportunities where NIPA has become the center of technical and other vocational programs that the island had aimed for since its inception in 2013.
This construction training initiative has recorded 200 graduates in total, with an intent to continue this program , where the 3rd session is slated to commence on September 16, 2019. The Government of St. 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, Marcel Gumbs, both affirmed long-term financial commitment to this initiative, ensuring its sustainability.
Together with other speakers, 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’.