Technical vocational training is not just for persons who have not excelled academically and Barbadians need to stop seeing it as such.

This assertion was made today by Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, at the official opening ceremony of the Barbados Vocational Training Board’s (BVTB) St. Lukes Training Centre in St. George.

According to her, this attitude undermined the work of the BVTB and impacted negatively on the efforts to encourage entrepreneurship.

"We talk about entrepreneurship and employment and vocational training is a large part of that.?? Stop making persons feel that they are less because of their training in technical vocational areas," she stressed.

The Labour Minister pointed out that many Governments globally had recognised the value of vocational training.?? "In Nigeria, the Government has invested much in training of technicians to regulate the banks and to develop financial software to properly tackle the rising fraudulent activities in the banking sector.

"In Germany, the ???dual’ vocational training system, which combines classroom instruction with practical, in plant training, is constantly undergoing reviews in an attempt to improve the system," she explained.

Dr. Byer Suckoo added that Barbados too, though a little behind larger countries in the development of its technical vocational programme, is still working to ensure that persons are adequately trained in these areas.

"…the Government remains committed to further investment in vocational training.?? It is an investment aimed at ensuring that Barbadian tradesmen possess the same or better skills as their counterparts around the world.?? It is an investment based on the notion that a capable technical workforce is the foundation on which a country is built.

??"As we look to the future, the continued growth and development of two of our foreign exchange earners – tourism and agriculture – is highly dependent on skilled development, – a method for upgrading the labour force and a factor in the holistic development of youth. [Moreover] vocational training can provide skills for both agricultural and non-agricultural livelihoods, and for employment and self-employment," she explained.

The refurbished and expanded St. Lukes Training Centre features state-of-the-art labs to facilitate the easy learning of autotronics and automechanics.?? It will also be used for the instruction of the regular courses being offered by the BVTB.????

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