Soufriere, Jan 23 : The Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School will soon have a Carpentry Training Facility thanks to a Small Grants Scheme of the German Embassy based in Trinidad and represented in Saint Lucia by their Honorary Consul, Mrs. Karolin Troubetzkoy. A dedication ceremony to open the Soufriere Comprehensive School’s carpentry building was held at the school Thursday afternoon, January 23.
On hand for the ceremony were Mr. Ulrich Kinne, the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy, Honorary Consul Mrs. Troubetzkoy, Joan Hippolyte, Principal of the Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School, Mrs. Valencia Charlery, Education Officer for District Eight along with faculty members and students from the school.
“The Carpentry Training Facility comes at a time when the school is confronted with a growing student population interested in adding practical applications and skills to their school experience”, said Principal Joan Hippolyte. Carl Hunter, Property Manager at Anse Chastanet Resort, who volunteered technical assistance to the school throughout the construction phase in collaboration with retired teacher, Innocent Aimable, added: “The carpentry centre will assist greatly in bringing the community of Soufriere the required facility to teach and refine the skills of carpentry. Carpentry is a diverse and strongly needed skill for this region of Saint Lucia with many extended opportunities becoming possible either through new construction, hotel/resort employment and also self employed entrepreneurial endeavours.”
The Carpentry Training Facility will create another avenue for students’ preparedness for the workplace and adds vocational training to the opportunities offered at the Soufriere Comprehensive School. The new carpentry building was also constructed in such a way as to facilitate future expansion with an additional level if desired.
Mrs. Hippolyte, the principal of the school, noted that this collaborative undertaking not only reduced overall costs via the use of sweat equity but also gave a stronger sense of ownership to all involved as personal commitment was required and given. More than 600 students ages 11 – 16 attending the school will benefit from the Carpentry Training Centre. It is expected that approximately 60 students will graduate annually with the Carpentry Qualification prepared to enter the workplace.
The school has now initiated a fund drive to raise money for the purchase of carpentry equipment and tools for the facility, which is scheduled to be in operation and part of the curriculum by the opening of the new school year in September.