Manager of City and Guilds Regional Office, Guy Hewitt, pledged his continued support to the future of Worldskills Barbados.delivering remarks at the closing ceremony of the Worldskills Barbados Competition.

The stereotypical thinking long held by many persons that technical and vocational skills are for those unsuccessful at academia is being shattered.

Manager of City and Guilds Regional Office, Guy Hewitt, has declared that this type of training is what employers have been seeking as it creates workers who possess both knowledge and skills, and not just knowledge.

Delivering remarks at the closing ceremony of the Worldskills Barbados Competition, Mr. Hewitt, who was speaking on behalf of the sponsors, said the inaugural event demonstrated that "technical and vocational education [and training] (TVET) connects knowing and doing".?? He further stated that the combination of "knowing and doing is a qualification that employers trust and depend on."

Noting that TVET "is more than preparing children for jobs or doing something for the non-university able", Mr. Hewitt stressed that persons should ignore the false divide between the "head and hand".

"For too long, terms like ???technical’, ???vocational’, and ???applied’ have been perceived as second-class offerings, when in fact, employers seek workers who have both knowledge and skills, not just the knowledge," he said, adding that he was pleased to see apprenticeships now being offered on the island.

Pledging his continued support to the future of Worldskills Barbados, he affirmed, "I hope you will see today not as an end of our sponsorship, but the beginning of a journey where technical and vocational students are exposed to the breath of opportunity and depth of recognition that the traditional academic pursuits have enjoyed for so long."

Praising the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council for organising and coordinating the three-day event, the City and Guilds’ Manager declared, "Our youth need relevant training today to acquire the competencies for the jobs tomorrow, in order to give them a sense of hope for the future."

He also lauded the Barbados Community College (BCC), the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) for their participation, adding that they were working to train, certify and engage learners and workers in Barbados.

To the competitors, he said, "Congratulations to you all, while not all of you will medal, all of you are winners.?? You have written your names on history’s page as the inaugural competitors of Worldskills Barbados. ??You have stepped through a door that we hope will remain wide-open for many other aspirants to follow."

While calling on the other sponsors to continue supporting Worldskills Barbados, Mr. Hewitt used the opportunity to publicly endorse the CARICOM Education for Employment Programme, a five-year Canadian funded scheme designed to strengthen and develop TVET in the region.

Outlining that "there must be a symbiotic relationship between industry and commerce on the one hand, and those delivering the technical training, vocational studies and applied sciences programmes on the other", he called for employers and the training institutions to work together in identifying what skills requirements were needed within the workforce.

"We need to build on our tripartite tradition to ensure that those developing TVET curricula and syllabuses go beyond the participation of industry and commerce, but in fact, partner with the private sector in defining the sector skills that workers must acquire and ensure that training programmes properly respond to labour market needs," Mr. Hewitt suggested.

Stressing that in today’s labour market, advanced qualifications in the absence of applied skills and career competencies have limited utility, he observed that, "We have to ensure that we train our young people, not based on yesterday’s aspirations, but for tomorrow’s careers requirements."

In concluding, he advised that with the advances in sciences and technologies, the Barbadian workforce needed a new toolkit to build career opportunities for the future.??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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