VIU Trades Programs Use Skype To Bridge Oceans

VIU students from the Nanaimo and Parksville campuses met their Trinidadian counterparts via Skype as the two classes shared best practices in real time. VIU is in a partnership with YTEPP in Trinidad thanks to funding provided by Global Affairs Canada through Colleges and Institutes Canada’s CARICOM Education for Employment program.

April 4, 2016 - 9:45am

Hairdressing and aesthetics students from Nanaimo and Trinidad share skills via Internet


There they were on the big screen, live from Trinidad, smiling and waving at the Vancouver Island University (VIU) hairdressing students who excitedly waved back from their Nanaimo classroom.


The Trinidadians on the wall-mounted video screen were hairdressing students from Youth Training and Employment Partnership Program Limited (YTEPP), a Trinidad and Tobago training organization. More than a dozen eager faces crowded around the camera in their Trinidad classroom to meet their counterparts at VIU for the first time via Skype. After a few introductions, the questions from the VIU students came fast and furious.


“What kind of music do you listen to? How many months is your hairdressing program? Do you have a Sephora (makeup, beauty and skincare store) in Trinidad?”


The questions were followed by a statement: “You all look so beautiful!”


“So do you!” came the raucous reply from Trinidad.


VIU and YTEPP are engaged in a three-year learning and training partnership that runs until April 2017. The partnership is funded by Global Affairs Canada through Colleges and Institutes Canada’s CARICOM Education for Employment program.


VIU hairdressing instructor Sally Vinden is one of VIU’s project faculty leads. She was there to moderate the online skill-sharing session along with her YTEPP counterparts in Trinidad, Angella Tambie, Yola Jeffery-Horaldo, and Lucy Guerra-Ramroop.


“Through this partnership our teams have visited each other’s countries to share best practices, lesson plans and technical program information. Through that process we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well,” said Vinden, who is Chair of VIU’s Hairdressing Program.


“But this is the first time we’ve been able to get our students together in a way that allows them to interact freely, talk about their home countries and share the challenges they experience as students.”


Once the questions were over, a student from Trinidad demonstrated a popular hairstyle from her country on a mannequin with long black hair. The Skype technology worked perfectly with the computer camera showing clearly what she was doing.


“It takes more skill than a typical braid because you have to take each strand and twist them in opposite directions before you bring them together,” she demonstrated. “It becomes a twist over a twist. It’s more complex and tighter than a braid and it offers more freedom.” 


The students at VIU hadn’t seen this unique approach. When they asked about it they were told it was a “Bengalese Twist”. The session went on with both sides sharing tips, tricks and a lot of laughter.


VIU’s Esthetics Department is also part of the partnership. Lesley Osborne, Chair of the Esthetics program at Parksville Centre’s VIU Spa Institute, has also linked her classes via Skype with their Trinidadian counterparts.


“We’ve already learned so much from each other and shared so much that we were really so excited to have our students actually see each other and interact in real time,” said Osborne. “We recognize that this partnership is as much about sharing a passion for the highest quality training in the beauty industry as it is about providing an incredible cross-cultural experience for our students. We’ll definitely be trying to Skype with them again in the near future.”


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MEDIA CONTACT:  Dane Gibson, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University


P: 250.740.6288 E: Communications@viu.ca T: @viunews  



Tags: Teaching and Learning