Vincent Toulomon from Alvi Management (left) Chamber of Commerce President Jean Arnell and Chamber Director Magguy Gumbs (right) talk to students taking the CAP course via a video conferencing link.
MARIGOT–Reporters were recently briefed by Chamber of Commerce Director Magguy Gumbs on the progress of the group of students studying in France for a Certificat d’Aptitude Professionelle (CAP) in the fishing industry.
Also present was coach and advisor Vincent Toulomon from Alvi Management who is accompanying the group in their studies. A video conferencing link enabled the students to talk about their experience with added comments from course tutors.
The group of 12 who were selected out of an initial 25 for the course left in early January for Boulogne-Sur-Mer, one of the main fishing ports of France where the economy revolves around fishing and the sea.
The duration of the course is six months and the group is living together in pre-arranged housing.
The group is learning all about preparing fish, from the sea to cleaning, filleting and managing a fishmonger, and then onto broader aspects of the fishing industry; commercial fishing, fishing boats, etc. It is expected they will return to the island to pursue their careers or start their own businesses in the fishing industry.
Magguy Gumbs is visiting the group every two months to make sure all is going well, not only with the course but with the personal circumstances of the group.
She noted, after getting used to the shock of the cold all was going well, the group is motivated and in their free time they are playing sports.
“Four already have promises of jobs in St. Martin, in supermarkets and restaurants,” she disclosed.
Chamber President Jean Arnell said he would like the group not to return immediately to St. Martin but to stay longer in France once the course is finished to benefit from professional experience.
Vincent Toulomon remarked he was very pleased with the motivation and interest from the group adding, “they are assured of finding employment at the end of the course.”
A number of partners made the study course, the travel arrangements and accommodation for the group possible. The total cost of the initiative was 182, 794.00 euros.
Partners who contributed financially to the course included Fonds Social Européene (FSE) 110,000 euros, Collectivité of St. Martin 34,694.00 euros, Chamber of Commerce (CCISM) 14,100.00 euros, and the Employment Office (Pôle Emploi) and L’Agence d’ Outre Mer pour la Mobilité (LADOM), 24,000 euros jointly.
“The goal is to qualify the unqualified, to prepare St. Martiners for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” reiterated Arnell. “Today it is fisheries but tomorrow it can be Digital Transformation. The reality is that we need young people to be qualified and professional in every