The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) believes its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Summer Youth Programme is another step towards eliminating skills gaps.
The initiative, which was oversubscribed, is three years' long and will mostly be held during the summer, with students having to complete work on weekends and online during regular school terms.
Jeffrey Lloyd, minister of education, told the students: "You are among the first generation that's going to have a different opportunity... Through training, through mentorship, through education, through opportunities like this, [this programme] is going to engender a new culture in The Bahamas. It's a culture called innovation."
Anthony Ramtulla, BTVI's chair of information technology, added: "After completing the three years, these students will be able to come back to BTVI and finish an associate's degree in just about one year.
"They can then go to the highly-accredited New England Tech in the US. and complete their Bachelor's degree in another year. So, if a student is now 14 years-old, they will have their associate's degree by age 17 and a Bachelor's degree by age 18. Not to mention the number of industry certificates as well.
"With this programme, the seed will be planted for these young people to become the leading experts in software engineering, network engineering, and information technology management in the nation."
Two young teens, in particular, are extremely excited about being a part of this summer programme.
Alexandria Herard joined with her lifetime goal in mind. "I was looking for something productive to do over the summer, and I heard about this programme," the 14-year-old DW Davis student said.
"It seems to have some great benefits, especially the international certifications. I have dreams of opening my own paediatric hospital that will use technology to allow patients with challenges to communicate. This programme is a step towards my dreams."
Meanwhile, her friend, 14-year-old K'Shaun Stubbs, is adamant about not getting left behind in a technology-driven world. "The world is becoming electronic and we, as young people, have to keep up with the pace... I joined this programme to expand my knowledge of information technology so that I will be able to apply it to my future," said the Mount Carmel student.
Upon completion of high school, students will be able to enroll at BTVI and complete an Associate of Applied Science degree within one year in the information technology field. This first summer alone, students will complete the exploratory level of CISCO CyberSecurity and the Internet of Things (Iot) in the CISCO Academy.