I’m not sure if the government is a achieving its objective of putting a graduate in each home, but we seem to be well on our way to putting graduates behind the tills in supermarkets. If you don’t believe me, check it out the next time you checkout.

I am not referring to students working to supplement their studies, but to graduates with an Associate Degree. It is the same scenario in our call centres. And it doesn’t end there. In the Sun newspaper there is an advertisement for what is in effect a basic machine minder. Educational requirements: at least an Associate Degree in Applied Science or Mechanical Engineering!

Mind you, most engineering graduates wouldn’t know a machine if one feel on their head. And this goes for graduates in all fields that are in essence practical. Up to a hundred years ago it was the master craftsman that determined good design; not at the drawing board but at the workbench. Thomas Telford (1757-1834), the godfather of civil engineering, left school when he was twelve and served his apprenticeship as a stone mason.

I suggest that rather than putting a graduate in each home we put a skilled person in each home. Let me qualify that by saying, a fully skilled person. You cannot learn a skill in six weeks; it takes six years and then some. Moreover, I would like to see a passionate person in each home, and by extension, a creative person in each home. By these means Dominica would begin to experience a new lease of life.

Regardless of the State College’s commendable “empowerment courses” when I look down the long list of subjects on offer at the college, the Creative Arts are for the most part conspicuous by their absence. This is not surprising, as they are largely absent from secondary school syllabuses. Five years ago, when I offered an introductory one-year Visual Art course in collaboration with the Dominica Institute for the Arts, there were no takers. Elsewhere in the world students would have been queuing around the block to enrol!

In conversation with scores of students, either with an Associate Degree, studying for an Associate Degree or having given up on a degree a couple of years into their studies, I found that most wished they had more carefully considered their options on leaving school. As work demands the best years of your life and the best hours of each day, it behoves you to get it right so as to enjoy and find fulfilment in the job you’re doing.

Over the next few weeks I will be offering a series of thought provoking workshops for school leavers and college students wishing to pursue a career with a difference. Art, Design and Craftsmanship will be high on the agenda. The sessions will be free of charge and held at my Antrim Studio.

For further details email: antrimstudio@gmail.com