SMITH’s relationship with business sector essential in program development and meeting labour market

The St. Maarten Institute of Technology and Hospitality (SMITH) says its close working relationship with the business community has allowed the Institution to develop programs that meet the demands of the island’s labour market.

SMITH has established attainment targets which are specific objectives for each course that is offered with a particular program.

"For example, in the Secretarial Assistant Program students will take courses in Office Management and Word Processing. The attainment targets for each course will contain the specific knowledge, skills and competencies that the student is expected to master in order to successfully function as a Secretarial Assistant," SMITH’s Education Coordinator Sidonia Hodge-Lacorbiniere explained. 

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Hodge adds that the attainment targets are the backbone of the institutions programs. "This document provides the Institute, the student and the public and private sectors with a detailed outline of the specific knowledge, skills and competencies that are associated with a particular vocation.

"When crafted correctly it provides a direct reflection of the knowledge base and skills sets required by industry for a particular vocation. This blue print for each training program serves as the compass for facilitators, cooperating businesses and students.

"The input and advice of industry professionals have been sought for all of the programs for which the Institute is now seeking Secondary Vocational Education (SBO) Accreditation. The attainment targets are a requirement for SBO Accreditation," Hodge-Lacorbiniere told the Government Information Service (GIS).

Input of the private sector is essential because our goal is to train students in tandem with the needs of the local labour market, so that they can compete not only locally, but regionally and internationally as well, Sidonia Hodge-Lacorbiniere added.

The Accreditation of SMITH’s Programs will indicate that the Institute has met the required quality standards as outlined by the Ministry of Education and students who have completed their training at the Institute will be able to obtain certificates and diplomas that can be used to gain employment locally and abroad, or to pursue higher levels of study available locally and abroad.

Programs being offered by the Institute for Spring 2009 are Business Administrative Assistant, Secretarial Assistant, Information Technology Service Assistant, Cook, and Security Officer.

Those requiring further information can visit the SMITH office which is located next to the Central Drugstore on the E. Camille Richardson Street #23 in Philipsburg or can call SMITH’s administrative offices at 542-1620. Office hours are from 8.30am to 4.00pm.