The agricultural sector has been the bedrock of Barbados’ development for decades but a top vocational education official has hinted that its future survival is dependent on a workforce that is highly skilled.
Executive Director of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, Henderson Eastmond, made this observation recently while addressing the Inter-American Institute on Agriculture’s (IICA) Youth Farm Graduation Ceremony at the Harbour Industrial Estate.
He said the modernisation of the agricultural sector would be further enhanced with the provision of highly-skilled jobs for the youth, which the TVET Executive Director described as “very important for Barbados’ future development”.
“A few things are fuelling the need for high-skilled jobs in agriculture worldwide. The need to feed a growing global population with less labour, less water and land and that is where modern agriculture that utilises technology plays an important role. In this regard, the agriculture sector of tomorrow will require practitioners who are knowledgeable, highly skilled and competent.
“We at the TVET Council are very serious about the agriculture sector. We have a treasured partner in IICA, and we will continue to build and nourish this relationship…,” Mr. Eastmond added.
Emphasising the importance of training, Mr. Eastmond disclosed that the Council, through the Employment Training Fund, had disbursed over BDS $211,958 to finance the training and assessments for the Youth Programme.
“The question is, where should we go from here? We at the TVET Council hope to examine the answers when we live stream a panel discussion on the theme: TVET the Way Forward, on Friday, July 21, at 8:00 p.m. One of the areas which will be discussed is agriculture and the progress that still needs to be made if Barbados is to reduce the size of its food import bill,” he stated.
During the ceremony, the participants accepted certificates and special prizes for outstanding performance in their Caribbean Vocational Qualification Level 1 qualification, as well as in their job attachments.