Increasing interest in SJPP’s agricultural programmes


Students as well as employers are showing increasing interest in the agricultural programmes offered by the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP).
Alicia Clarke, Head of the Agricultural Division at the SJPP acknowledged this recently, as she spoke to The Barbados Advocate during a break from the Agricultural Division’s recent Open Day. The Open Day was intended to introduce students gearing up to leave school to the SJPP’s agricultural programmes and the various areas of offer, including landscaping and horticulture, Clarke noted. It also serves to give the Division greater visibility.
 Clarke noted that those visiting are also able to see how former students have benefited from the programme of their choice, since many of them now have their own businesses or work with organisations such as the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)  and the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI).
“I find that the interest is increasing steadily. Although it’s the Division of Agriculture, we also do landscaping and horticulture and there is a big demand for landscape maintenance and we often get people calling us asking for past students, if we can recommend students for employment,” Clarke revealed.
“Our students go on to BCC as well. I would say maybe a third to half of the students who do agriculture at the BCC have passed through our programme and some of them also go on to University,” she explained.
“I find the demand for the programme is increasing. With our main (agricultural) programme, we are (working) to improve the level of technology, so it is not just the hoe and the fork,” Clarke added.
“We are trying to introduce people to higher levels of technology and with that in mind, by next academic year-August, September, we should be launching a second programme in protected agriculture, which will include greenhouses etc. So we are trying to keep abreast of all the new trends in agriculture,” Clarke said. (RSM)

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