Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. Natalio Wheatley has implored youngsters to become entrepreneurs and aid in job creation as the Government of the Virgin Islands is unable to provide more employment opportunities at this time.
The Minister was at the time addressing the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS) award ceremony for the academic years 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 on Thursday, November 19, 2020.
The students received their Caribbean Vocational Qualification certificates in cosmetology, motor vehicle repairs, food and beverage/bar tendering, commercial food preparation.
“In the past, it would be commonplace for persons such as yourselves to go to the government and say, “I want a job”, and sometimes persons got jobs regardless of qualifications, that’s not the situation today. The Premier and Minister of Finance is telling you, we cannot employ more persons, we cannot grow what is called the recurrent expenditure, which includes salaries and the operations of government. We just can’t do it anymore,” he said.
He continued, “We need jobs, and that’s why this institution and technical vocational education is at the forefront of the present and future economy of the Virgin Islands. It is of extreme importance. In the past 20, 30 years all we have decided to do is import persons to do all of these jobs, and while we welcome persons from other islands because of course they come here, and they have enriched our society and contributed mightily to our society. We have to transition now from inviting persons to come and help us to training our young people to help us, and you can make good money doing it!”
While describing the students as ‘trailblazers,’ Minister Wheatley said they are now tasked to “be at the forefront of the fight for employment in our economy in the private sector.”
“You have to encourage your friends and family to join that fight, and you can be a wonderful example to persons here. So I congratulate you on your accomplishment today, and I push you to keep going, of course, many of you can enter into the job market but take your education as far as you can take them because you are not just thinking small, you are not just thinking that you want to be on the bottom tier of employment, you want to be leaders,” the Minister stated.
Principal of the school, Andy Francis as well as Sixth District Representative Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines who delivered remarks congratulated the students on their accomplishments and also called on them to be the best version of themselves.
VISTS Molded Me
In the meantime, Noah Spencer, who delivered a response on behalf of the awardees said, the VISTS played a major role in the person he is today.
He said: “The path that I can say I was on before even coming to this school, it was not a right path, but this school molded me, molded my peers and molded each and every one of us to even set foot on the path to become great. I take it as a privilege for my customer service teacher to even say that this is the future premier.”
Spencer then encouraged his peers to become the type of person that they want to be.
“Don’t mind the talk, they tell you, don’t do hair, how you can do nails? Do it the best you can be, be the best you can be.”