Patricia Welch (sitting) and Damien Morris (standing) were two of the course participants in the level 3 National Vocational Qualifications in Career Guidance and Counselling. They are pictured taking part in a group activity. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development’s Human Resource Development Unit (HDU) is moving to ensure that those involved in helping the island’s youth make crucial choices about their career prospects are adequately trained.

To this end, the Ministry has engaged the services of Profiles Caribbean Inc. to deliver the Level 3 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Career Guidance and Counselling.

The sessions, which began on September 20 and are slated to conclude on Wednesday, December 13, are being held in the Warrens Office complex from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  By the end of this training period, a second batch of 21 persons would have completed this training.

Explaining the relevance of the training, the HDU’s Programme Officer Moreen Bowen, said the Ministry recognised the importance of building capacity in the area of career guidance and counselling.  In light of this, she said participants were drawn from secondary schools, the National Employment Bureau and other entities involved in shaping the minds of young people.

“We thought that we needed to build the capacity of those officers who interface with the public on a daily basis.  We also believe that guidance counsellors have a critical role to shape and influence those young people who are the future employees in the labour market.  The Ministry is responsible for keeping those persons who are employed in the labour force up-to-date with trends and we need to work with counsellors to make sure that they have relevant and timely information that can be shared with their clients,” Ms. Bowen stated.

The Programme officer said at the end of the training, participants will acquire new knowledge and skills which was a “win-win” situation as the training was “beneficial to the participants, the students and the country.  The next steps will involve participants being assessed through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council’s assessment process in order to receive the NVQ certification in Career Guidance and Counselling.”

Course facilitator, Shane Howell, of Profiles Caribbean Inc., said the course content allows participants to gain a deeper understanding of the career guidance and counselling process.  This, he added, would allow them to “employ a more process-driven methodology when working with their clients”.

Meanwhile, Guidance Counsellor at the St. George Secondary School for the last 16 years, Patricia Welch, said the training would enhance her knowledge in career counselling, given the diverse personalities and cultures of today’s youth.

“When I first started 16 years ago, children would have had an idea what they were interested in as a career.  Today, the children are unsure of their career choices and I believe that having an understanding of different theories and techniques, would help me to guide them in the direction that best fits the students’ skills,” Ms. Welch pointed out.

Fellow course participant Damien Morris, a Placement Officer for the Barbados Vocational Training Board’s Placement Programme, said the training would assist him to give adequate career guidance to the apprentices.

“In the area of career guidance, I will be able to use the skills learnt in this training to help apprentices understand whether or not they are in the roles that they are passionate about and if they are not, guiding them in areas that are outside of their training where they might still be able to utilise their skills,” Mr. Morris stated.

The NVQ training was made possible through the Ministry’s Human Resource Strategy Programme which is funded by the European Union.

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