The Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) hosted their final certificate ceremony for 200 plus students participating in the course of Public Health and Hospitality on Thursday, April 29, 2021. These courses were started after Hurricane Irma and were the first component of the Emergency Income Support and Training Project EISTP; one of the Trust Fund projects under implementation at the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) offering training to unemployed persons. Over the period of just over three years some 2000 students have made use of this opportunity and received certification and pins for courses in public health and hospitality.
In the presence of the Board, management, and staff of the SMTF, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs addressed the graduates, as the keynote speaker. In relaying her message under the theme: 'Employer's Expectations of new Recruits”, Prime Minister Jacobs highlighted three points for graduates to keep in mind:
1. Prepare for the new function while taking into consideration the expectations of your employer.
2. Go beyond the expectations of the employer and ensure you are always at your best - your attitude determines your success.
3. Never stop looking for opportunities to keep on learning and improving.
Prime Minister Jacobs told the graduates, “We are now 4-years post-Hurricane Irma and are still facing recovery challenges, a challenge made even more significant by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these challenges make your accomplishment so significant because as St. Maarten continues to change and grow, the needs within our economy for your skills also grow.”
“These opportunities are incredibly essential to St. Maarten’s long-term sustainable plan. So, I thank all the graduates here this evening and all the graduates who have successfully completed these courses. You have aided in our aim to build a strong labor market. Each individual who is able to build their skills creates a stronger labor market. A strong labor market can help us narrow economic disparities and start to heal the damage inflicted by past economic difficulties and natural disasters,” she continued.
SMTF Program Director Sergio Walsarie Wolff also congratulated the graduates and spoke about transitioning. He told them, “I am incredibly proud of all of you, who picked yourselves up and have shown up to come to class, week after week. And now, that you are transitioning back into the work field, you are armed with a valuable certificate and invaluable knowledge passed on by your SMTF teachers.”
During the ceremony, several SMTF Students expressed words of thanks to the Management and staff of SMTF as well as encouragement to their fellow students. “I am grateful to God for having closed this chapter with success, I am grateful for Professor Early and the translator Luz, for their patience and dedication. Also, I am grateful for all the office staff, who facilitated every question, and to the Government of St. Maarten who opened the doors to these new experiences in such a difficult time. Finally, I am grateful to all my classmates, may luck accompany you in your future endeavors," said F. van Heyningen, one of the student speakers.
Prime Minister Jacobs congratulated the Class of 2021, and all students receiving accredited certificates and pins in the past years. “On behalf of the Government of St. Maarten, I wish you success in your future endeavors whichever path you may take, as long as you become lifelong learners," concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.