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“Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Challenges” programme for returning fifth formers of The St. Michael School - Experience on Business Etiquette

“Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Challenges” programme for returning fifth formers of The St. Michael School - Experience on Business Etiquette

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Cognisant that today’s youth, while possessing some academic qualification, lack the necessary interpersonal skills needed to function in the working environment Miss Faith Richards, teacher of The Ellerslie School conceptualised the idea that a programme was necessary to address the dearth of competencies which will undoubtedly affect the students’ lives as they seek jobs and places in institutions of higher education.

When the then Principal Major Brathwaite and teachers of The Ellerslie School was considering someone to facilitate the programme, Mrs. Sandra Griffith-Carrington, the then Marketing and Communications Officer at UWI Open Campus, was their first choice of facilitator.  From her facilitating many workshops for the school, they knew that she was able to relate well to the teenaged students and command their attention. 

Mrs. Griffith-Carrington readily agreed to design and develop the curricula for the programme she entitled “Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Challenges”.  The programme was therefore designed to enrich the lives of these students by preparing them for life after school, as well as assisting them in their job search. The course takes a holistic approach and is quite comprehensive, preparing students not only for the world of business but for life in general.

Initially, there were six topics - (i) Presenting Yourself Properly, (ii) Effective Communication which included telephone and email etiquette and the use of tele/video conferencing; (iii) Dealing With Difficult People and Conflict Resolution, (iv) Social Graces and Professional Ethics, (v) Business Etiquette encompassing social and dining etiquette and (vi) Resume Preparation and The Interview Process. Over the years, four additional courses were added:- The Impact of Social Media and Personal Branding in 2017/2018; Wardrobe Management in 2019/2020 and in 2020/2021 Personal Financial Matters. This programme has made a very positive and lasting impact on young people.  This is recognisable in their amended manner of speaking, the improvement in dress, writing skills, and general conduct. 

The programme has reached nine (9) secondary schools but with the recent impact of the pandemic resulting in the move to online classes, only six (6) of these schools were able to continue the programme – Coleridge & Parry, Frederick Smith, Princess Margaret, St. George Secondary, The Ellerslie School and The St. Michael School.  Coleridge & Parry is the current recipient of the coveted trophy for the Most Outstanding Student.  The programme consists of interactive sessions with a team of presenters from The University of the West Indies Open Campus, course work and a final examination.  The most outstanding student from each school is given the opportunity to intern at the Open Campus and in 2019 some 20 corporate businesses partnered with the Open Campus by providing internships.  The Open Campus is grateful to the lone sponsor of this programme, Dr. Arvat McClaine from the USA who is the author of the book, “When Black Women Speak…The Universe Listens”.

Please click the link below for ease of access to The Barbados Today and Barbados Advocate newspaper articles where the Campus Alumni Officer, Mrs. Sandra Griffith-Carrington was featured:-

https://barbadostoday.bb/2022/03/04/uwis-life-skills-programme-impacted-...

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