Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, listens attentively as Demonstrator for Auto body repair, Jefferson Wharton, explains the repairs being carried out to a vehicle door, during??a recent tour of the C. Lomer Alleyne??Skills Training Centre. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, is urging Barbadians not to marginalise children who may not be adept at traditional subject areas and suggest that their only option is vocational trades.

Speaking after a tour of the Barbados Vocational Training Board’s C Lomer Alleyne Skills Training Centre at Sayes Court, Christ Church yesterday, she suggested that it was unfair to label both the students and the vocational profession in that way.

The Labour Minister stressed that the vocational trades held great promise for all students and should not be stigmatised as an area for those not academically gifted.

"[If] they don’t take in the classic [subjects]… we tend to say to those children, go the vocational training board and do plumbing. But we need to change that way of thinking. Vocational training is not only for students who are not doing well at school but is a viable career opportunity for all."

According to Dr. Byer Suckoo, parents and teachers must be aware that children learn at different rates and in different ways and as such, must be offered the appropriate support.

"[With regards to] students who are not doing well at school, it is not because [they] are dumb in any way but they may not have found the right technique with which to learn. We have seen students who have come into vocational training and because they have been [exposed] to different techniques for learning they are then able to go back into academic training."

The Labour Minister also gave the "thumbs-up" to the work of the BVTB and revealed that there was scope for expansion of the programmes offered.

"I’m glad to see that we are continuing to offer a wide range of courses for both the young and mature students… so much is offered here and looking around I believe we have scope, over time, to do even more. I am impressed that we can offer such a range of courses," she declared.

Minister Byer Suckoo toured several of the workshops at the training centre including horticulture, cosmetology, construction, auto body repair, housekeeping and construction.

She had previously visited the Board’s headquarters at Culloden Road, the National Employment Bureau and the Technical Vocational Education and Training Council as part of her familiarisation of the departments under the Ministry.??


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