One year after it started, the Jennès Vocational Skills Training Programme has been instrumental in changing people’s lives.
Abejah Modeste is a graduate and proud winner of the Jennès Incubator Programme for Start-up Enterprises Pitch Competition held last October. She said getting a brilliant idea is easy, but starting is often one of the hardest parts of the entrepreneurial journey. By joining the programme, she has come to appreciate the opportunity to enter into a learning environment where she gained the skills necessary to develop her business concepts.
“I was able to share this experience with like-minded individuals at similar stages of our business journeys,” she said. “We were able to share our challenges and collectively find solutions. My mindset has changed since taking part in the programme. I have embraced the saying by Malcolm Forbes, that ‘Every failure is a step to success.’”
She added: “The skills I acquired have allowed me to recognize where I am on my developmental journey. I am able to set more realistic short term goals that will eventually compound into my long-term objectives.”
Modeste said the programme has taught her to use design thinking to actively generate, research, refine, and test her ideas by prototyping. She noted that accounting and marketing professionals such as Rankin Morgan provided invaluable information that assisted with refining her financial and marketing plans. The Lean Business Canvas was a vital tool learnt in the business plan training process, she added. Modeste now looks forward to starting the business coaching programme which will provide much-needed business counselling and mentorship.
“My advice for anyone thinking of joining the programme is to go for it, take advantage of this free opportunity to develop and grow your skills,” she said. “It is your time to positively use your talents, skills, creativity, and experience to create successful businesses that will meaningfully contribute to our society.”
Sir William Arthur Lewis, Saint Lucia’s first Nobel Prize Laureate who won the Prize for Economics in 1979, famously said that, “The fundamental cure for poverty is not money, but education.” Therefore, the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) encourages students to remain committed to pursuing their dreams by taking advantage of the opportunities being provided to them.
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) sponsors the Jennès Vocational Skills Training Programme which is administered by Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC). The main purpose of the programme is to upskill Saint Lucian youth and women so that they can participate positively in Saint Lucia’s economy.
Participants receive vocational training skills in Health Aide, Digital and Creative Entrepreneurship, Hospitality, and Early Childhood Development. The objective is to help these individuals develop skills that are immediately marketable and give them access to specific job opportunities within those sectors.
In July last year, 76 students graduated from Cohort One of the Jennès Vocational Skills Training Programme, with 9 of them qualifying for US$2,500.00 in angel grant investment. To date, 25 vocational graduates have finished business coaching and received angel funding in accordance to the business summary and strategic plan respectively.
In October, another graduation ceremony was held for 73 graduates who completed Cohort Two of the Jennès Vocational Skills Training Programme, and 56 who did the Business Incubator for Start-up Enterprises Programme.
Aside from the vocational skills training component of the Jennès Programme, there are also a business coaching component and a pitch competition showcase.