Training upgrade a must
The Technical, Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) Council is encouraging both public and private sector training institutions to “upgrade” both their staff and their equipment in order to produce better qualified technicians.
Word of this comes from executive director Henderson Eastmond who said technicians on the island were missing out on overseas job opportunities due to gaps in training.
He pointed out that while the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) was the highest technical institution in the island, it only offered qualifications up to level two.
He made the comments last Wednesday during a Press conference to launch the International Therapeutic Examination Council (ITEC) Level 2 certificate in complementary and alternative therapies which will be offered by the Personal Body Health Care Clinic at a discounted rate to 20 Barbadians with the assistance of the council and the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI).
Speaking during the event at the BCSI’s Harbour Industrial Estate secretariat, he suggested the need for more institutions to offer Level 3 and Level 4 training. Level 4 is the equivalent of a first degree.
“We have a problem in this country being able to deliver a certain level of technician. In order to move the system forward, you have to have people trained. If you’re delivering Level 3, you have to have Level 4 and if you’re delivering Level 4 you have to be at Level 5 so the first stage is to move a cadre of people above the level you want to deliver,” he said.
Eastmond said institutions’ equipment also had to be upgraded in order to produce world class technicians.
In the absence of such improvements, he said Barbadians were missing out on international opportunities.
“We had a situation where the Ministry of Labour went over to Canada. There are plenty opportunities for workers to go to Canada, places like Alberta, but in order to get into Canada for work you have to pass something called the Red Seal certification. We have been trying to see if we can get the apprenticeship students or the past students from the polytechnic to get themselves prepared to write this examination to get the Red Seal certification so they can migrate to Canada to work but it demonstrated the gaps in training that we have and there is still a lot of work to be done,” he said.
The executive director said the TVET Council was in discussion with various stakeholders and the training institutions with a view of creating a policy paper “because we have hit this snag”.
“We have been having discussions with the Barbados Vocational Training Board, the [Barbados Community College] and the SJPP first on rationalization of the offerings. You might find that certain courses at the BVTB are at the same level as those at the polytechnic so we are trying to cut out the duplication so that people can see a career path in technical education right up to Level 4,” he said.
Eastmond said many people were “turned off” from technical studies because they were limited in the level of certification they could obtain locally. (NB)