Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo. (FP)

This island’s Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, has underscored the critical work of the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) in preparing the youth for emerging areas of employment as identified by Government.

Senator Dr. Byer Suckoo expressed her views recently during the BVTB’s Graduation Ceremony 2017 at the Lester Vaughan School.

She identified some of those areas for employment as agricultural technology for greater yields with less land; renewable energy; photovoltaic installation, maintenance and repair; as well as electric car and bus maintenance.

She gave the assurance that Government would continue to support the efforts of the BVTB as it looked to expand its training offerings and capacity. “We have to expand the capacity because the demand for vocational training has certainly increased,” she stated.

She disclosed that the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development had responded to her Ministry’s request, on the organisation’s behalf, for land. She expressed the hope that everything would proceed smoothly for the required expansion.

Dr. Byer Suckoo praised the BVTB for becoming a registered institution with the Barbados Accreditation Council. Stressing that it was a tremendous achievement, she explained that every detail of its operation was scrutinised.

“A team from overseas looked at the Board, the staff, the workshops, the curricula, all the programmes, even the dropouts, the equipment and the finances. They looked at everything and gave the BVTB more than a passing grade, an excellent grade,” she disclosed.

She therefore put the institution on notice, saying: “This registration means that our expectations from the BVTB will now be pitched at a slightly higher level. There is, therefore, no time for complacency, as the status achieved and level of output have to be maintained at the very least, while you continue to work towards advanced registration, and ultimately, accreditation.”

The Minister noted that while BVTB passed the registration “with flying colours”, a few areas still had to be strengthened. She listed some of them as curriculum development; improving workshop facilities; strengthening apprenticeship, perhaps through legislation; and regaining City and Guilds approval.

“I can assure you of the full support of the Ministry, as together we address these issues so that the BVTB can sail through to accreditation,” she said.

Senator Dr. Byer Suckoo reminded those graduating that they were on the first rung of the ladder of a successful career and there were many more rungs to go. She assured them that Government would put systems in place to ensure that they could be trained and certified to the highest level.

Two hundred and twenty-one persons graduated following the successful completion of various courses in three modalities of training, namely, Skills Training, and the Evening and Apprenticeship Programmes.

Earlier this year, another graduation ceremony was held to present Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) awards to 180 persons in an Apprenticeship and five Skills Training courses.

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