VIU Builds International Ties with Carribean Partners

February 13, 2014 - 5:00am

Vancouver Island University is building international ties with Trinidad and Tobago.

Three visitors from the Trinidad and Tobago’s Youth Training and Employment Partnership Program (YTEPP) are touring VIU facilities in Nanaimo and Parksville this week to learn about VIU’s Esthetics and Hairdressing certificate programs.

“They are touring our facilities with a view towards setting up a cosmetology training center in Trinidad,” explains Meg Savory of VIU’s Faculty of International Education.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to share our knowledge with our new international partners.”

On Wednesday, the group toured VIU’s Professional Hairdressing Certificate program at VIU’s Nanaimo campus, which has been in operation for 60-plus years.

After meeting students and faculty, the group toured two local salons owned by VIU graduates.

Entrepreneurs Edwin and Fiona Johnston of the Cutting Room Creative in Nanaimo hosted a tour of their new cutting edge salon where many VIU graduates are pursuing their careers.

The creative duo have earned international recognition and have been the recipients of many prestigious awards, including Canadian Salon Team 2014.

The Trinidadian visitors received a warm welcome from VIU graduate Kiyomi Schultz of Kiyo Salon and Day Spa and Mi by Kiyo.

The visitors were impressed with Kiyomi’s high energy combined with her creativity and entrepreneurship, which led her to achieve her 10 year business plan within five years.

Thursday, the visitors toured VIU’s Professional Esthetics Certificate program, offered at VIU’s Parksville Centre on Jensen Avenue for the past five years. They also visited Tigh-Na-Mara Resort and Seaside Spa in Parksville where VIU Esthetic grads have landed jobs.

“We often hire VIU grads,” says spa director Paulina Alexander. “In fact, I can’t wait for April when the next group of students graduate from VIU’s Esthetics program.”

Carolyn Gloudon, Director of Youth Training for the YTEPP in Trinidad, says she and her colleagues are “very impressed with VIU facilities and the quality of the Hairdressing and Esthetics programs.”

Savory, along with Lesley Osborne, Chair of the Esthetics program and Sally Vinden, Chair of the Hairdressing program, visited educational representatives in Trinidad last spring to discuss setting up the new three-year partnership.

“We’re looking forward to strengthening our partnership with the YTEPP and assisting with curriculum development, Instructor training and program development, adds Savory.

“This is a great chance to highlight VIU and Vancouver Island showing our Caribbean partners what great place in which we live, work and study. It’s a rewarding experience for all involved.”

The partnership project is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and administered by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.


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