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Feb 16, 2011

Tubal students hone their skills at a real job site

High School students normally impress the public with open-days on school compounds. But the Tubal and Trade Vocational Institute students take their handicraft to the public. A week ago, students of the Ladyville based trade school, handed over the keys to a new home that they built for a Hattieville victim of Hurricane Richard. But instead of just sitting back and relaxing, the Tubal students were hard at work again, this time in Belize City, where they put their electrical skills to practical use. News Five’s Isani Cayetano Reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since opening its classrooms to the general public a little over nine years ago the Tubal Trade & Vocational Institute has seen upwards of two thousand, five hundred students pass through its curricula.  Under new management the trade school is expanding its scope to cater to the specific technical needs of those who might not be suited for or don’t have an interest in academia.

This group of thirty is among the future automotive mechanics that are expected to enter the workforce upon completing the program.

Instructor

“We have a sensor problem.  Four of the injectors are not firing off this eight cylinder engine so what we’ll do is take down the injectors.  The machine, the diagnose computer already tells you what is the problem.  Alright four injectors off the left hand side.”

Of Tubal’s entire student population a majority of them are considered at risk youths in danger of falling through society’s gaping cracks and into the abyss of its many ills.  The school’s assistant manager Ruben Anderson has both a personal and professional mandate to ease as much of those problems as possible.

Rupert Anderson

Rupert Anderson, Assistant Manager, Tubal Institute

“All we want to do is to help to solve some of the social problems that’s going on here in Belize.  These students are from the South Side.  Some of these students are sent to us by the courts, some by the [Department] of Human Development.  You know, they are students from off the streets who have been rejected.  Tubal is changing the lives of these students and we’re changing it through one of the mediums, through this medium [which is electrical wiring.”

This handful, gathered here at this Lakeview Street construction site, is presently undertaking a project which for the past three weeks has seen them fitting this two-storey concrete building with all its electrical fixtures.  Among them is a career soldier who decided on joining the course to expand his practical knowledge.

Apolonio Shal, Staff Sergeant, B.D.F.

Apolonio Shal

“I can say that I [have] learned to set outlets, [uhm] lights and identify what is [a] live wire and [a] neutral wire and [a] ground wire and so forth.  I can say that I have learned and am applying it to this field at the present moment.”

After running a series of wires through several pipes within the exposed walls students also try their hands at plastering and finishing.  The structure which was built independently by a private contractor serves as the perfect environment for on the job training.

Rupert Anderson

“The owner of the house is in the United States and the contractor approached Tubal, you know, and asked us if we wanted to be engaged in a work-based learning setting with our students and we gladly accepted.  The students are here from the beginning with the electrical aspects and they will continue.  They will do the entire electrical system.  Our instructor is a licensed electrician that is actually spearheading this project.”

Like their colleagues who are huddled around a completely stripped down vehicle inside the classroom everything here is applied learning.

Apolonio Shal

“When we are in a building like this sometimes they have already done the plastering so when we need to set in our outlets we need to do the finishing work also.  So therefore we still need to know about the cement also, a little bit about cement work so that we could do the finishing work.”

Currently there are five courses being offered by the institute to its enrolment of ninety-one students and while its numbers may not compare to rival ITVET it is giving the government-subsidized competition a run for its money.

Rupert Anderson

“It is a wonderful experience for our students.  We track our students, you know, we monitor them based on the hours they work, based on their conduct, based on the objectives that they need to complete on a daily basis.  So the classroom is brought to the jobsite.  That is vocational education and that’s what we are doing here.”

Beyond expanding his technical scope Staff Sergeant Shal, upon retiring from the Belize Defense Force, will be able to use his newfound skill to establish or continue a career in electrical wiring.

Apolonio Shal

“It will benefit me in both ways, in my life when I leave the force and also within the force I can use this as my trade, I mean [in] my work field because the force will require me to do some work also there pertaining to electrical.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Tubal’s founders, Lyndon and Lavern Bailey, were awarded as First Caribbean’s Regional Unsung Hero in 2007

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3 Responses for “Tubal students hone their skills at a real job site”

  1. cg says:

    its nice to hear some good stories for a change, keep them coming.

  2. MS SMITH says:

    I agree with you CG,its about time we read something positive lets keep it positive and help keep the youths off the dangerous streets.

  3. alesha anderson says:

    rupert is my dad im being serious

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