A government official is rejecting the view that there is little or no interest in the agriculture sector as a viable career option among local youth.
Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Science Technology and Innovation, Henderson Wiltshire, stressed the importance of the sector to this country’s development while addressing the graduation ceremony of Inter-American Institute on Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) Barbados delegation’s Youth Farm.
Giving a synopsis of the successes of the programme to date, Mr. Wilthsire explained that it had started in three schools with nine students. Five years later, he said, 15 schools had participated in the programme which covers Amenities Horticulture, Livestock and Crop Production.
The Senior Official proudly stated that the programme was so successful that some participants had not only become more confident at public speaking, they now possessed leadership qualities and more importantly, had become entrepreneurs.
“It is often stated that there are no young people in agriculture. I am not sure of the criteria used to arrive at this conclusion. However, I have seen the interest shown by the over 125 young participants over five years as they show their eagerness in terms of being involved in agriculture. A number of them have chosen agriculture as a career and in fact, [there were] some persons who came through the programme with one career option and by the end, they had switched pursue agriculture as a career,” Mr. Wiltshire stated
He told his audience that while it is the mission of the Ministry that all students leave school with certification be it Caribbean Examinations Certification or Caribbean Vocational Qualifications(CVQ), the Education Officer pledged the Ministry’s continued support for the programme.
“We see this programme as a very important initiative as it seeks to further train and certify students in the various agricultural programmes through the CVQ component.
During the ceremony, the participants accepted certificates and special prizes for outstanding performance in their Caribbean Vocational Qualification Level 1 qualification and on their job attachments.