|Akeila Chapman and her coach, Wendy Bishop posing with Executive Director of the TVET Council, Henderson Eastmond, (left) and Director of Training of the Barbados Vocational Training Board, Henderson Thompson(right). ??(C. Pitt/BGIS)|
Barbados’ silver medallist at the recently held WorldSkills Americas Competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, returned home yesterday to a special welcome from family, friends and government officials.
Twenty-one year old Akeila Chapman and her coach, Wendy Bishop, were greeted at the Grantley Adams International Airport by Akeila’s mother Loretta Chapman and other family members, as well as Director of Training at the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB), Henderson Thompson and Executive Director of the Technical Vocational and Education Training Council (TVET), Henderson Eastmond.
The second year BVTB student copped a silver medal in the Ladies and Men’s Hairdressing category behind host country Brazil, while Guatemala and the Dominican Republic tied for the bronze.
A beaming Ms. Chapman told the Barbados Government Information Service she felt ???great’ about her silver medal, adding that she was confident she would place.
"After my first two modules, I was very comfortable because I knew I had to place either first or second. I tried very hard for first place…but the next time I am going for the gold," she said.
Describing her experience in Brazil as "quite good", she also encouraged more young Barbadians to learn a skill.
"For 2014, WorldSkills Americas will be in Bogota, Colombia, and I am looking forward to more Barbadians, who are learning a skill, coming and taking part in the event," she added.
Chairman of the WorldSkills Barbados Committee, Paul Puckerin, said the TVET Council and its partners were very excited about Akeila’s silver medal, adding that they were already making plans for WorldSkills Barbados 2014.
"The TVET Council will be hosting the second edition of WorldSkills Barbados around March 2014. So, during 2013, we will be energising and getting other persons involved who want to participate. I am sure the Barbados Vocational Training Board, who Akeila represented as a student, will be sending more competitors to take part.?? We will also be encouraging students of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and the Barbados Community College to take part again. We will also be going to the secondary schools for the first time as we prepare for WorldSkills Americas in 2014, in Colombia," he said.
Mr. Puckerin also called on the private sector to continue their support of the WorldSkills Competitions, which he pointed out augured well for the development of the abilities and talents of young Barbadians.
The WorldSkills Barbados and WorldSkills Americas competitions are based on the WorldSkills International competition, a global skills Olympics, which is held in one of 55 member countries every two years.
It seeks to provide young people ages 16 to 22 who are enrolled in training institutions the opportunity to compete and demonstrate their excellence in skilled professions.