A Ganar graduates should be proud of their achievements, says Programme Director of the Programme Coordinating Unit in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Paul Murphy.

Delivering the feature address at the first ever graduation ceremony of the A Ganar Pilot Project in Barbados, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Mr. Murphy said: ???I challenge all of you graduating from the A Ganar Programme, to take pride in your every accomplishment knowing that it has equipped you with the skills needed for a successful future.???

And, he urged that they adopt a give-back attitude to the alumni through sharing experiences, knowledge and skills with those ???who decided to walk the A Ganar path???.

Outlining the background to the project, Mr. Murphy noted that as early as 2010, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank, embarked on a journey to find a programme that would cater to the academic, social, psychological and labour market needs of our at risk youth, both at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

???Following the delivery of a pre-pilot in early 2012, to ensure we got the concept right, the A Ganar Pilot Project was conceptualised as an initiative to shape and motivate our young people personally, academically and professionally.

Additionally, the project was to be used as a vehicle to provide students with the competency-based skills necessary to succeed in the new and evolving labour market,??? the Programme Director explained.

The first cohort also heard that their achievements would contribute to the success of their country and to the realisation that Barbados can be a modern, competitive market-driven society, equally able to compete within the global market place.

The official, who has been coordinating the Skills For The Future Programme, under which A Ganar falls, stressed it was expected that graduates would continue on with their education, go straight into the world of work, or become entrepreneurs.

Expressing his belief that the education system must better prepare young people for life outside the school gates or risk wasting their talents, Mr. Murphy declared: ???We need young people who are rigorous, rounded and grounded and the government, the private sector and non-state actors must stand ready to play their part.???

Rashawn Greaves of the St. Leonard???s Boys??? Secondary and Sylvan Barker of the Barbados Vocational Training Board received the award for Most Improved participants. Ramario Thorne from Parkinson Memorial Secondary and Shamar Tudor of Darryl Jordan Secondary School walked away with the Most Outstanding Participant award.

A Ganar is built around the belief that the sports-based skills such as teamwork, communication and ???focus on results??? will translate into market-driven skills and attitudes that will lead them to be successful. Over the next few years, the project will be piloted in nine secondary schools and two post-secondary institutions, with a target to train 1,500 students.


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