Academic proficiency should not be the only yardstick used to measure an individual???s job competence.

This is the view of Minister in the Prime Minister???s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, who expressed concern that many Barbadians have developed a mindset which values academic qualifications over and above an individual???s ability to do a job well.

Speaking at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council???s Employer Awards ceremony at the Accra Beach Hotel last Friday, Senator Boyce stressed that in order for the Barbadian society to become more balanced, it must attract some of the best minds to the technical occupations and embrace all professions with equality and respect.

???Traditionally, a good education was perceived as one that was largely academic and which resulted in qualifications that said more about one???s theoretical knowledge than one???s competence or the practical skills and experience needed to do one???s job effectively???

???Inquiring and imaginative minds are needed in technical and vocational areas as well as in the traditional academic and professional areas. The time has come for us to encourage more of our brilliant minds towards the pursuit of technical and vocational education, which focuses on the practical application of theories, principles and knowledge,??? Senator Boyce said.

The Minister suggested that an over-reliance on academic qualifications and a neglect of practical learning may be responsible for some of the low levels of performance, and lower productivity which is seen in the workplace.

He, therefore, advocated that competence should not be based only on passing an examination, but should encompass practice to acquire mastery of the skill and demonstration of the competence in a real work environment.

During the ceremony, several companies were recognised for their contribution to the field of technical and vocational education.

Courtyard by Marriott took home the top prize in the Tourism and Hospitality category; CGM Gallagher Brokers (Barbados) Limited in the Financial Services category; Barbados Port Inc. in the Retail category; and in Agriculture, the winner was the Nature Group Limited.

The Barbados Port Inc. also copped a special award for Investment in Youth Development ??? Job Attachments and the Spirit of TVET Special Award for Investment in Youth Development was won by Monnis Farms.

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