Six partnerships, formed to take advantage of the third and final disbursement of the over US $6 million grant fund offered by the Competency-Based Training Fund (CBTF), under the Skills For the Future (SFTF) Programme, have been revealed.

Those making up the partnerships are: C.O. Williams Construction Ltd and the Barbados Employers??? Confederation; Niccolls & Edghill (Construction) Ltd and Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary School; A1 Supermarket Ltd and Star Apple Inc. and The Productivity Council; Greaves Furniture and the Barbados Vocational Training Board; the Barbados Agricultural Society and St. George Secondary School; and The Dining Club, who will engage in self-training.

Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer, in addressing yesterday???s award ceremony at Sea Breeze Hotel, Maxwell, Christ Church, reminded those gathered that in November 2012 Barbados entered into an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the implementation of the SFTF programme.

She said that the overall objective was to support Barbados??? Human Resource Development Strategy, with an emphasis on improving the quality and relevance of secondary education and the effectiveness of technical and vocational education and training.

Pointing out that one of the focal areas of concentration of the SFTF was to determine the skills gap within our labour market, she said this was with a view to ensuring that our institutions provide education and training services demanded by the industry.

???As part of supporting this much needed employer driven education and training system that would facilitate a better alignment of the supply and training with market demand, the CBTF was expected to fund competency-based training proposals of up to BDS$800,000 each, through a competitive transparent process, resulting in a total disbursement of BDS$13 million.

The Labour Minister expressed pleasure at the success of the SFTF Programme, and in particular the achievements of ???the very small but effective and efficient team??? of the Competency -Based Training Fund Management Unit (CMU).

She observed: ???Through the tireless efforts of the CMU, the Technical Review and Selection committee, which reviewed and vetted the proposals, and the TVET Council, which had administrative oversight for the whole process, several milestones have been achieved.???

Outlining these, Senator Byer noted the first cycle of the CBTF saw 33 submissions from partnerships, seven of which were approved. Stating that this was to the tune of BDS $3.6 million, she added it was expected that just over 800 workers would be trained and certified and five occupational standards developed.

According to her, the second call for proposals yielded 39 proposals, and 12 partnerships were awarded an estimated BDS $7.5 million. This was expected to lead to over 2,000 workers being trained and certified, and nine new occupational standards developed.

Pointing out that the third call for proposals to the CBTF was launched on February 3 and closed on March 31, she said 34 proposals were received and six partnerships would be awarded funding of BDS $2.8 million.

???This third round of CBTF grant recipients represents a cross section of industries, including construction, manufacturing, retail, agriculture and hospitality. Over 800 workers are expected to be trained and certified and three new occupational standards developed,??? Senator Byer stressed, as she highlighted the fact that overall, about 3,600 workers would be trained through the CBTF.

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