The first ever training course in photovoltaic installations on the island begins this month at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP).

Considered the premier trainer in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), this tertiary level institution will have the distinction of launching the programme, Photovoltaic Installations 1, on Tuesday, January 20.

In explaining the rationale behind its start-up, SJPP???s Curriculum Development Industrial Liaison Officer (Ag.) Audrey Jones-Drayton, said: ???Last year, the Polytechnic undertook a Labour Market Survey in collaboration with Sault (pronounced ???su???) College in Sainte Marie, Ontario, Canada. We wanted to project the occupational demands over the next few years and ensure our curriculum remained relevant to market demand.

???The survey indicated that approximately 200 persons need to be trained in renewable energy-related areas. So, with this course, what we are really launching is renewable energy education in Barbados. And, we are expecting there will be great interest in it and a high level of participation.???

Noting that in 2014 the SJPP had, under the Caribbean Education for Employment (C-EFE) progamme, partnered with Sault College, Canada???s most highly recognised training institution in the field of renewable energy, Ms. Jones-Drayton declared: ???Through this partnership, the Polytechnic will strengthen the capacity of its staff to manage and deliver demand-driven, learner-centred, competency-based education towards the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) in renewable energy, among other outcomes.???

Special attention is being given to career guidance, gender mainstreaming, Prior-Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) and entrepreneurship, all fundamental to creating a skilled workforce and thriving industry in renewable energy, thus reducing the nation???s dependency on foreign energy fuel.

And, this partnership is further strengthened by support from the Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) Council, as well as the SJPP Advisory Committee for Renewable Energy, comprising educators and leading entrepreneurs and manufacturers within the industry.

Photovoltaic Installations 1 is a 45-hour two-credit course and sessions will be conducted on weekdays and on Saturday mornings and evenings. It targets participants with either one year in the solar photovoltaic industry and/or a Certificate or Diploma in Electrical Installation, or its equivalent.

At the end of the course, graduates will receive the SJPP Unit Certificate in Photovoltaic Installations 1 or the National Vocational Qualification in selected units for Roofer – Fitter Level 2.??The official launch of the course on January 20 will take place in the auditorium of the SJPP, Wildey, St. Michael at 4:45 p.m. Principal of the SJPP, Hector Bell; President of the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA), Clyde Griffith; and representatives from the Ministries of Education, Energy and Labour, will address the event.

An E-Message from President of Sault College, Dr. Ron Common, will also be given, while a plaque in recognition of the inauguration of renewable energy education at the polytechnic will be unveiled by SJPP???s Principal, Hector Belle, and donor Ralph ???Bizzy??? Williams of Evergreen Williams Limited.

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