Parkland College has successfully concluded an 18-month international project in Jamaica. A youth skills development program gave over 600 Jamaican youth the skills to transition to further education or directly into employment.
Parkland College was selected for this project in 2014 by HEART Trust/NTA, a training institution with locations across Jamaica. The College worked with HEART Trust to facilitate the project, which was jointly funded by the Canadian and British governments and administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).
Using its expertise in Essential Skills, Parkland College led workshops and courses for both staff and students. About 80 staff from HEART Trust and Community Training Interventions became trainers in instructional, counselling, and gender equality strategies. They are now training others, building capacity throughout Jamaica and ensuring the sustainability of new skills and knowledge.
“The project created a proven model of success for pre-vocational education in Jamaica to adopt to better serve at-risk youth,” said Kami DePape, Director of Academics and Student Services at Parkland College. “Without this pre-technology program, these youth would not have the opportunity to advance into skills training.”
One exciting aspect of the program was the implementation of technology in the classroom. Parkland College introduced Socrative, a formative assessment tool delivered through a mobile device. Jamaican instructors are now using this in their own institutions to engage youth through technology and to assess their students’ progress. Online training videos have been developed in instructional strategies, adult learning principles, technology in the classroom, and formative assessment, all of which can be accessed anytime and anywhere.
The project is a milestone for Parkland College. While the College has gained experience with several international projects over the past few years, this is the first time the College has taken a lead role in project execution. DePape calls it a significant achievement for an institution of Parkland’s size.
“It was also important for Parkland College to see the similarities between its own adult upgrading students and the students in Jamaica. Personal development, alongside academics, is critical to success,” DePape added.
The project was a learning experience for the College, which can now bring ideas home to its own programs in Saskatchewan. Although the formal project is over, Parkland College will continue its educational relationship and exchange with its Jamaican partners through a Desire2Learn site dedicated to the project.
About Parkland College:
Parkland College strives to help students in East Central Saskatchewan achieve their goals and build the foundation for successful careers. Students can choose from a wide array of educational options, including university degrees, skills training diplomas and certificates, trades training, high school upgrading, safety training, and corporate/professional development. Parkland College is a learner-centered organization and is proud to be one of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers for 2016.