The President's Blog

Making an impact in Jamaica

December 5th, 2016

The value of Parkland College’s international work became very clear to me after spending a week in Jamaica wrapping up our international project.  The project saw Parkland College involved in supporting a pre-technology program for youth and adults between the ages of 17-29 as they prepared to meet the requirement for further technical training or to enter the labor force.

During our time in Jamaica we had the pleasure of seeing the impact of the program in a direct and immediate way. Our visits to five training centres in various locations around Kingston put us in touch with the administrators, educators, counsellors and — most importantly — the learners who took part in the program. It was absolutely heartwarming and at times heart wrenching to hear the stories of all involved. Many of the learners had overcome significant personal and social issues on their road to success. The sheer joy of personal success and accomplishment after many setbacks was indeed a life-changing moment for the learners. They shared stories of their improved self-worth and the hope that now filled their lives.

The resilient nature of the educators also left a lasting impression. The facilities and resources available to them are nowhere near what we in Canada have come to expect. They simply made the best of what they had and were inspired by the impact they were having on the learners. They were so grateful for the resources and training provided by Parkland College and lamented the fact that the program in its current form was ending. They were looking for ways to continue the good work started by the partnership. I am certain they will find a way!

Special thanks to all of our partners: Caricom Education for Employment, HEART Trust/NTA Jamaica, Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada, UK Aid, and Colleges and Institutes Canada. Congratulations to all Parkland College staff involved in the Jamaica project. Your work is indeed making a difference.

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