“Never A Failure, Always A Lesson” that’s my motto to which I live by every day. I am 23 year old Rachel Henderson. As a past student of the Gilbert Agricultural & Rural Development Center, I stand proudly to say that my career success have been made possible by a group of hardworking and dedicated women and men.
My journey started in April of 2013 when I was at a standstill in my life. I decided to further my education with the GARD Center, to which I gained knowledge of from a family member.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I went to the office and sat down and spoke with Ms Francis she said to me “I’m Cheap, Mean and Tight, so therefore if I enroll you Rachel you must promise me that you will not miss any of your classes as this course is one of the most expensive ones we run”. To that I kept my promised.
I signed up for a program called Exceptional Hospitality Executive Provisioner where studies would be held at ABHTI. The instructors where terrific! Class after classes I remained focused. Being a young mother, I sometimes had to tag along my son for the journey, to which the instructors were very understanding.
After six (6) long months at ABHTI my classmates and I were placed on internship. I was placed at Blue Waters Resort and Spa to complete six (6) weeks of training in the Food and Beverage department with no payment given while on internship.
I spent 3 weeks as a waitress and the remainder as a bartender. I gained knowledge and skill. I had to learn fast. I wanted to be taken seriously and that is exactly what happened.
After my training was over, on my last day the senior F&B Supervisor came to me so excited and said you’re not leaving till you sign these document to be a causal staff for the next 6 months. I was so elated, nervous and happy at the same time.
I stayed and worked as a waitress and I was placed on full time employment after my 6 months was over. During my time as a waitress Ms. Francis and Ms. Jackson kept a steady update with my progress and continued to encourage and guide me.
Today, I am currently a hostess within the Food and Beverage department at Blue Waters Hotel and Spa. I stayed focused and remembered my purpose. Each day I still thank the GARD Center for the opportunity to which was granted to me.
Nothing comes easy at all in life but with determination patience, God and people who are willing to push you anything is possible.
These young women between 16 – 35 years, have recently graduated from the GARD Center / European Union sponsored training courses in the disciplines of: Food & Beverage Services, Business Enterprise, ICT and Office Administration.
Let me start by saying I had just about given up on ever receiving that call that I’d been accepted into the program. I was asleep one day when the call came that there will be orientation the following Monday. Now let me tell you my first thought was that I was dreaming. Wondering to myself did I really just get that call? Never the less I got myself prepared to be at the orientation.
After the orientation the next day we were introduced to our practical training instructors, which I must say are the most wonderful set of individuals I have ever met in my life. The atmosphere they set would make you eager for the next day. It was one of caring, encouragement, always having someone there to listen and most of all important the spiritual; the day could never begin without first giving thanks to God. My determination mixed with the encouragement I received also drove me. Math, English, IT and Life Skills all formed part of the course.
The GARD Center is one of the best learning institutions I’ve been to. You are given all the resources you need to succeed in life, be it professional or personal. The GARD Center charted the course to changing my life and I consider them my blessing at time when I wasn’t certain which way to go. They have impacted my life in such a way that they could not imagine.
My experience at the GARD Center was a great one. What I’ve learnt there will always be with me in everything I do. Anyone who doesn’t succeed at the GARD Center is because they don’t want to. Continue to do the excellent work you’re doing at the GARD Center and I would encourage other companies, individuals and or organizations to work in collaboration or assist the GARD Center in what they are doing.
Love and Respect and God’s richest blessing on the GARD Center.
I heard about GARD on the streets and I decided to apply. I was given the opportunity to pursue studies at the Antigua & Barbuda Hotel Training Institute through a scholarship I obtain through the GARD Center in partnership with the European Union.
A couple weeks after making my application my phone rang:
Miss Francis: “Good morning, is this Shalonda Richards?
Me: Yes it is
Miss Francis: “You have been accepted into the EHEP Program.”
Me: EHEP!!!!!!!!!!! “I want to do Basic Cookery.”
Miss Francis: Ok. I’ll see what I can do.
Two days later I got a phone call saying that I did not get into Basic Cookery but into Food & Beverage Services. It wasn’t what I wanted but I accepted it and said “its ok, it’s always good to start from the bottom and explore to reach your goals.”
A couple weeks after I got another phone call letting me know that I would start classes at the Antigua State College in preparation for the entrance exam to ABHTI. After I started the class it just wasn’t fun for me. I was complaining because I thought it just didn’t make sense. Then I realized at the end of the 6 weeks it all was just to get us ready for our adventure.
I met two persons that I fell in love with dearly “Miss Francis & Mrs. Jackson.” These two women thought me about life and just wanted the best for all of us.
On September of 2013, I started my Food & Beverage Services course. It started off boring and every day I went to classes it ended up being fun and I then started to participate more.
My experience at ABHTI had its up and downs but I just did what I was told and got my work done. Every event they had I was present, it wasn’t about the money for me, it was about getting more experience and learned new things. I enjoyed it.
When it came to my work I never played, for the year I spent at ABHTI I’d been on the honor roll for the 3 trimester and it felt good. I received 3 honor roll and my Food & Beverage Certificate. It felt awesome and I knew I made my family and friends proud.
I always used to say “when me dun from up ya me nah cum back” but that changed when I heard that they were offering an associate’s degree in Food & Beverage Management. I signed up literally the Friday before school opened.
Two weeks into school I got called into the office and Mr. Charles, the Academic Affairs Director, told me that he’s going to send me on an interview for a scholarship from State Insurance. I attended the interview and was confident in all my answers. I meant I was going to 1 out of the 3 to receive the scholarship. Weeks passed by and I didn’t hear anything, I started to panic and thought that my interview wasn’t good enough so I decided to pay my school fee. As I entered into the accounting room I heard CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!! I was shocked. So I said “congratulations for what miss?” she said you got the scholarship they were in love with your interview, my smile was as big as ever and I knew I had to make these people proud.
My dreams have opened up even wider. I’M ON TO BACHELORS NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I AM A GO GETTER!!!!!!!!!!!
There is more than one way that GARD Center has helped me on my internship and gaining further employment. The program covered every aspect of life and learning. The feature speakers and friendly staff made learning and developing into a better person very easy. The friends made during this period of training. A lifetime wealth of knowledge is what I gained. I have proven to myself that even though I am a mother and I mean “A good Mother,” learning never stops; and if I can do it anyone and I mean YOU can too! I am destined for greatness and it is happening naturally for me as I continue on the path of success.
I would like to say THANK YOU! And you know who you are. THANK YOU!! Yes, YOU!!
I am grateful for the opportunity to have had the chance to attend the Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center, (GARD Center).
During the training I have learnt basic work ethics.
Being at this institution has also helped to enhance my leadership and communication skills, which have both played a tremendous part in making my Internship successful at Courts (Unicomer) as a Credit Clerk.
- The opportunity I received at the GARD Center has had a major impact on my life, it has opened a door which now makes me see a better future. I am a lover of I.T. so being able to be a part of the ICT course has been very beneficial to me mostly because I have been home, finished from school, no job and not knowing when I would be able to take the next step in life.
- The knowledge I gained while at the Center has made me say it was worth it, because I am now an intern at the Antigua and Barbuda Social Security Board and there has never been a task given to me that I wasn’t capable of accomplishing.
- Finally, I must say thank you, because after everything that has been taught to me I have chosen the career path of a Microsoft Office Specialist.
How I Got My Job
My name is Whitney Charles, I am a past student of the GARD Center. I am just writing this to say how, much the GARD Center has done for me.
My self esteem was at a all time low which made me believe in myself very little, but thanks to a woman that acted like a mother, a father, a friend and a teacher to me and that woman is Mrs. Jackson, without her I probably would have quit but I was pushed to the end and came out of GARD Center with a high self esteem and a lot more confidence in myself.
At the end of the six months I was sent to Caribbean Airport Services to do an internship for six weeks. Using all I was taught at GARD Center I work to my fullest. Two months after I was called back to join the team as staff of the Caribbean Airport Services as a Customer Service representative.
I not only learnt how to build a business from the bottom up but also how to obtain a successful business.
I learnt how to be a better person not only at home but in the work place as well, with the help and lessons learnt through my course.
I have been able to obtain a position at the Social Security office where I now currently work. I am proud of myself and very thankful to Miss Frances aka mummy for the opportunity she gave me.
The training I received helped when I was offered an internship at First Choice Foods where I am now an employee in the Administrative Department.
I thank GARD Center for all their help and I will be forever grateful.
“Having made the decision to enhance my life was one of the best I’ve made.” Getting the opportunity to attend the GARD Center has really improved my work ethics, skills and has made a positive impact on my life. I completed the ICT training course at the GARD Center which was not only academic but also covered life skills.
The Tutors are knowledgeable, caring and are determined to help you to succeed which for me has made life more rewarding.
After a period of Internship, Ms. Germain Dublin is currently employed at Social Security.
My experience at Kennedy’s Club Limited, I liked the environment right away. They interact with one another like one big family and everyone treated me real nice like I was a part of their team, even though I was only there temporarily.
So while I was training I made a decision to work hard so I could stay full time and so said, so done. I appreciated the fact they were willing to teach me things and assist me in areas where I wasn’t knowledgeable.
I started with office duties and now I am a part of the accounts team. Kennedy’s is a place where not only me but others can definitely grow.