The GARD Center recently held a Graduation Ceremony, on Thursday, 8 December 2016, at the Methodist Church Hall, St. Mary’s Street.
77 graduates successfully completed their courses of study and received certificates in Information Communication Technology, Customer Service, Business Management and Yacht Maintenance. 4 from the ICT class, 17 from Business Management, 19 in Customer Service and 37 from Yacht Maintenance.
The ICT, Business Management and Customer Service trainees paid their own way to take these courses and deserve an extra nod of approval for making this step towards advancing their skills and knowledge in these difficult economic times but staying focused and seeing it through to the end.
This year our donor partners are the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICAN) and the UK aid from the British people which all forms part of a larger project within the CARICOM Education for Employment (C-EFE) throughout the Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda form a part of a collation of three other Caribbean countries to achieve training in the Marine sector. These countries are St. Lucia and Grenada of which St. Lucia is the lead country. This project is managed by a publicly supported Canadian college called the Cegepe, which facilitated the development of a curriculum for the accreditation of YM program to be offered by the GARD Center.
The GARD Center and the National Training Agency (NTA) have always had a good working relationship and it is through the partnership with the NTA the Center was introduced to our donor partners in this Youth Skills Development Programme. The NTA knowing the track record of the GARD Center recommended that we be the training facility to manage the programme, considering we had conducted several other training courses in Yacht Maintenance.
The Center also used this opportunity to recognise and honour 27 of our Tutors, who have volunteered and worked with us over the twenty-seven years of our existence.
The following is an email received from one of our esteemed Tutors, please read his comments.
“I have admired the tremendous work that, over the years, the GARD Centre has produced and the wonderful successes that it has had in providing assistance to Antigua and Barbuda’s young people and especially for young women at risk.
In my view one of the most significant things about the GARD programmes, has been its holistic approach, in which it has addressed in its training, not only to the technical or business needs of its students, but also to the spiritual and human relations needs as well. Sometimes, this has been at great cost to the staff in terms of playing a variety of supportive roles, not only as teachers, but as mentors, Big sisters, parents, financial advisers, legal counsel – the list could go on almost indefinitely. Most teaching organisations do not take such a comprehensive responsibility for their students’ success and development.
I have also to say that your vision, energy and drive have been so important to the successes of the GARD Centre. I was around enough during earlier times to know that trials and tribulations that you had to go through and the tenacity you displayed in getting the present building from Minister St Luce – you were like a bull dog – visiting Public Works every day to keep them from doing someone else’s bidding!
It has been a privilege working with you and if and when you do decide to “retire”, I know that you can be proud of what you have accomplished and happy for all those young women and men whose lives have been enriched by their studies at The GARD Centre. I truly hope that the Methodist Church also appreciates the enormous contribution the Centre has made to the nations youth and the Church’s ministry.
When I started this email/letter of acknowledgement, I did not intend to say all this, but we don’t often get the opportunity to talk these days, I think we both seem to be busier than ever and it seemed very good opportunity for me to express the pleasure and satisfaction that I have experienced in working with you and the Centre, watching it grow from strength to strength!“