Soufriere, St. Lucia – Friday 2, October 2015, was a memorable day for several middle managers of the Soufriere Foundation. On that day, twelve (12) full-time and trainee supervisors proudly graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Supervisor’s Management course.
The UWI management program is a world-recognised qualification which is attained after completion of 40-hours of classroom study. Participants graduate after completing a case study, dissertation and proctored exam. Unlike most programs of study where the student has to go to the university, the latter in a strategic partnership with the Soufriere Foundation was able to bring the program to the participants thus reducing cost and time.
In a small ceremony held with as much pomp as a college graduation to celebrate the participants’ accomplishments, UWI certificates were handed out to the graduands. In attendance at the Cool Breeze Leisure Inn venue were the Parliamentary Representative, Harold Dalson; UWI Open Campus Coordinator, Dr. Veronica Simon; District Education Officer, Valencia Charlery; Soufriere Foundation Chairman, Methodius Claircin; Director, Gloria Jaunai; Projects and Operations Manager, Dominic Alexander and family and friends of the graduands.
Director Jaunai opened the ceremony by congratulating the graduands on their performances and announcing the key reasons for the organisation’s investment. “It is a demonstration of our commitment to the development of our most important human resource. It is also a vehicle through which the organisation could realize its strategic objectives of cultivating the most competent middle management cadre in the South of the island and producing middle managers who are responsive, empowered, efficient and effective,” she stated.
In her address to the participants, Dr. Simon, expressed her pleasure with the organisation’s support of continuing education as a platform for training and human development. According to her, “I am pleased that the Foundation is taking a proactive approach to human resource empowerment.” Dr. Simon saw this approach as being advantageous over the promotion by experience approach, which sometimes left supervisors short of some key skills needed to operate effectively in the workplace.
In her keynote address, Mrs. Charlery, informed the graduands that they were extremely privileged because in some other organisations employees have to pay their way for higher education. She went on to remind participants to be a good advocate for the organisation and to understand their role. “You are the middle managers and so you are the link between management and the people you supervise, you must be able to guide those you oversee especially when they are in problematic situations, and therefore your tasks are very important”
Class representative, Lester Cazaubon, closed the ceremony, by thanking the organisation for its investment in the intellectual capital of the supervisors and assuring the audience that empowering the supervisory component of the company’s administration would increase the company’s viability as an NGO in St. Lucia.
The ceremony was followed by a small cocktail party at which UWI Lecturer, Denys Springer; proposed the toast; sharing of congratulatory messages between graduates and a photo taking session.
The Soufriere Foundation is a non-profit company located in Soufriere. Its mandate is to undertake social, cultural, human resource, tourism and infrastructure development in the Soufriere area. The organization which was established in 1993 generates revenues from its operational sites: the Sulphur Springs Park, Gros Piton Nature Trail, Comfort Center, Soufriere jetties and 88.5 Soufriere FM.