Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, has encouraged employers and trainers to ???act now??? and take advantage of a Fund which will not only strengthen businesses, but the island???s human resource capacity in the years to come.

Speaking today at the first in a series of Competency Based Training Fund (CBTF) workshops at the Accra Beach Hotel, Minister Byer Suckoo noted that the CBTF fulfilled pillar three of Barbados??? Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS), namely, the creation of demand-driven professional development and training services.

Through the CBTF, she said, an environment would be created where employers would identify growth needs and partner with a training provider to help employees meet these needs and ensure trained persons were assessed and certified.

???The benefit of this particular strategic activity will be enormous since it is intended to help restructure Barbados??? workforce training system ??? or, as we refer to it, the national technical and vocational education and training (i.e. TVET) system ??? from a supply-led to a more demand-led and outcomes-based one,??? the Labour Minister noted.

She pointed out that the workers ??? or prospective workers – would earn competency-based certification such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs). These, in turn, she added, would help to improve their ability to perform their jobs effectively. ???That is what a demand-led, outcomes-based training system is supposed to achieve,??? she noted.

With the CBTF???s mission focused on developing a competent and certified workforce in Barbados and the region, Minister Byer Suckoo said that the BDS$13 million Fund would not only assist businesses to improve their competitiveness by improving employee performance and offering training to meet market needs, but it would also help create new, sustainable business opportunities across multiple sectors.

The CBTF is executed through the Skills for the Future Programme, which is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. The Skills for the Future Programme is designed to support Government???s HRD strategy to improve the quality and relevance of secondary education and the effectiveness of Barbados’ national TVET system.

Senator Byer Suckoo disclosed that a Project Implementation Unit was established to carry out the activities linked to the other four pillars of the HRDS, with Working Groups formed for each of the pillars to develop and facilitate execution of the action plans in each of the respective target areas.

Other activities to be featured as part of the Skills for the Future Programme are the A Ganar Pilot Project, which focuses on the use of team sports to build life skills, and the Barbados Vocational Training Board???s curriculum reform of its skills training courses and Apprenticeship Programme.

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