Selvin Basden, the director of human resources and training at Bahamasair, pictured with his wife, Lisa, says education boosts confidence and allows people to take greater initiative.
Selvin Basden, a beneficiary of post-secondary education, explains the advantages he sees of that when hiring potential employees . . .
It feels like only yesterday that I walked across the stage at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, to collect my college diploma.
It was 1996 and I had just completed my Bachelor’s in Public Policy and Political Science and I wanted to be a lawyer. That was the plan. Finish up, head home and get this career thing started…
Then something called life happened.
Twenty years later, I have recorded a few stops in my career after spending the first ten years in the United States. One thing I can tell you is that my education opened so many doors that would have otherwise remained closed.
Before we go any further, I want to state for the record, that college doesn’t make you better than anyone. However, college, if you take it seriously, does improve the options available to you throughout your life.
I am a very proud product of the public school system, having graduated from The Government High School … Go Magic! When my mother died at the beginning of my 11th grade year, college seemed like a stretch for me. I genuinely started thinking about where I would apply for a job after graduation.
After a lengthy heart-to-heart with my father, I started at The College of The Bahamas, where a chance meeting at a college fair led me to Lincoln University. I completed my Bachelor’s degree and a few years later completed graduate school, attaining a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Management.
In my role as an HR executive for a large corporation, I come across hundreds of applications for a very limited number of jobs. Whenever I receive applications from college graduates, I look at these candidates with a more discerning eye if time permits.
A college education suggests to me that:
1 You are willing to learn and have the capacity to be trained and further developed
A college education tells me that you can work within a formal framework, you can assess, analyse and draw logical conclusions. These skills are critical in the workplace.
2 You may fit into our work environment
It gives me the freedom to make general assumptions about your skill level and outlook. Even if those assumptions don’t represent you as a whole person, they allow me to assume that you will fit into our work environment.
3 You understand the concept of community and how you contribute to it
Whether that community is at the University of Bahamas, the smallest liberal arts college in the world, or anywhere else - college doubles down on the person you are and who you are meant to be.
These are the things that I’m able to glean from a resume just by seeing that a college degree was completed. While academics are important, college helps make you more of a whole person. Knowing that you have a college degree tells me that you are a whole person ready to contribute to our company.
Education is the great equaliser; it boosts your confidence and allows you to take greater initiative when dealing with issues outside of your comfort zone. That is what college both here and abroad did for me, and I have watched how it has changed so many others like me.
Looking back, I can only thank my family and my extended support system that made it possible for me to secure my degree. That said, to answer the question of whether a college education is worth it, the answer is a resounding YES!
NEXT WEEK: Who should consider college?
Selvin I Basden is the Director of Human Resources & Training at Bahamasair Holdings Inc and past recipient of a Lyford Cay Foundations’ scholarship.
“Gain An Edge” is a weekly collaboration of the Lyford Cay Foundations, Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute and the College of The Bahamas aimed at promoting a national dialogue on higher education. To share your thoughts, email firstname.lastname@example.org