From left to right: President of the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers, Lieutenant Colonel Trevor Browne; Chairman of the TVET Council, Dr. Albert Best; Lead officer for the Lifelong Learning Programme (TVET), Kimisha King; Education and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Subcommittee Lead of the Barbados Institute of Architects, Neil Hutchinson; and Barbados Contractors and Artisans Cooperative Society Ltd. Representative, Troy Williams, following today’s press conference. (H. Reece/TVET)

With the Barbados Annual Construction and Design Conference (BACDC) set to kick off tomorrow, Tuesday, March 29, chairman of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, Dr. Albert Best is appealing to all in the line of work to see lifelong learning as a must.

Speaking today, ahead of the conference, Dr. Best told media representatives: “For those who may ask why lifelong learning and why TVET? The reality of it is that the Ministry of Education, [Technological and Vocational Training] is charged with training for primary, secondary and tertiary, and vocational training. TVET is responsible for the training of technical and vocational for the entire population and training shouldn’t stop at tertiary. We have Barbados Community College and SJPI [Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology] that are charged with the tertiary education process. Beyond that there hasn’t been anything.”

“So, the initiative of the lifelong learning was driven by this lack that we have identified. And, we all know that beyond the classroom and beyond an internship that might be provided by the skills training programmes and stuff that we have through the broader Ministry, we still need that continuing professional development to keep our workforce sharp and tapped into current trends and international standards and that has been the initiative of the TVET Council with the advent of the Lifelong Learning Unit and this conference is only part of our broader intentions.”

Dr. Best, who is himself an architect, a planner and a construction manager, said he had seen the lack, sometime ago, when at the helm of the TVET Council, he had pushed the initiative forward.

“When I sat in the chair, I had to bring the sensitivity that TVET doesn’t stop at the blue collar. It’s not the plumbers, it’s not the electrician but it is also the architects, the engineers, the doctors because anything that is based in vocation – hands on or application – is TVET and people have to understand that. And, I guess with the education reform, you will see a happy merger of the academia and what we call TVET. So, that is being redefined, as we speak, and you will see more and more from the Lifelong Learning Unit as we roll out our programmes,” the Chairman declared.

Meanwhile, Lead Officer for TVET’s Lifelong Learning Programme, Kimisha King, acknowledging that the Council was “walking in line with the policy of the Education Ministry”, stated that it was imperative that the Council had the Ministry’s support, not only with respect to the conference but for TVET’s institution’s lifelong learning initiative.

Emphasising that they were excited to be on board now and moving even further, she said: “You are hearing now a lot, as we’re hearing in the news, where the Government of Barbados is really pushing that technical training because that’s important. You see it happening throughout the schools. We are seeing the NVQs and the CVQs happening in the schools; we are not waiting until they get to tertiary level or when they get where they’re able to do that advanced training. “

“We are starting it from as young as possible, so that when they get there it is a part of what they do. You know when we talk about the conference that is coming up, we see the artisan and the stuff they are doing, it’s technical; the architect, that’s technical as well, so you are seeing all of those things happening. So, it is important that we have those policies out there to help pull or rein us in because it really helps for us to build and expand”, she said.

Adding that the Lifelong Learning Unit provided for advanced training, Ms. King added: “We are looking at those persons who are in the field already, who are already practising, who are doing those things already and helping to advance those levels of training, so that we are always sticking to our vision, which is becoming the premier catalyst to ensure that development is always happening because there is always something to learn; there is always something for you to be able to get better at.”

Of the virtual conference that runs until Thursday, March 31, she stressed: “There is no secret that construction is important to us. Architecture is a thriving, but competitive business and climate can be difficult, even in the best economy. Therefore, by grouping all aspects of construction and design in this conference, participants will learn how to modify their design values to reevaluate their market position and proactively secure work while enhancing and boosting their brand.”

The event, is being held in collaboration with the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers, Barbados Contractors and Artisans Cooperative Society Limited, Barbados Institute of Architects, Barbados Town Planning Society, Berger Paints Barbados Limited, British High Commission and the High Commission of Canada.

It aims to provide Continuing Professional Development training to over 100 professionals in the design and construction industry, across the participating associations.

The conference will form a global/regional forum for researchers, educators, academics, and engineers to present and discuss recent innovations and new techniques in engineering technology, architecture, and design.

For further information or to register for the Barbados Annual Construction and Design Conference, interested persons can visit https://acdc.tvetcouncil.com.bb/.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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