??Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)

The Barbados Government wants to see this island’s training institutions doing more for national development.

This was stressed by Minister of Labour Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, today as she delivered the feature address at the launch of the Caribbean Regional Office of the City and Guilds at the residence of the British High Commissioner, "Ben Mar", The Pine, St. Michael.

Dr. Byer Suckoo urged such training institutions as Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, the Barbados Community College, the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and their Chief Executive Officers "to not just be merely concerned with providing training, but to be visionary leaders, to change their method of operation" but to "come up with ideas and proposals".

Declaring that it could not be business as usual, she warned: "The economic climate is hostile with all its attendant problems.?? We can no longer enjoy the role of follower.?? We must lead. To this end, we must empower all training institutions to expand their research departments, or develop these where necessary and start carrying out research that will shape the training direction which we should follow."??

"…We must now think in terms of also leading industry, rather than taking the nod from industry.?? For this to happen you would need to have vibrant and committed research departments," Minister Byer Suckoo stated.

She continued: "…The time is right.?? The time is now. The training institutions must take a new type of lead.?? The time to invest in new technology is now.?? Let us embrace for example the waste-to-energy revolution and devise solutions to process organics into energy."??

In terms of what government was doing to spearhead initiatives, Dr. Byer Suckoo disclosed that the Ministry of Labour had been developing a National Employment Policy for Barbados and a revised draft had been completed and would be submitted to Cabinet soon.

She pointed out that her ministry was "moving full speed" ahead to strengthen the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system in Barbados and added that The TVET Council had been working assiduously to develop and maintain the vocational education and training qualification system in accordance with labour market needs.??

"The Barbados Vocational Training Board is also playing a key role in the TVET system through the delivery of its programmes to ensure that workers have the skills to be competitive in the global economy.?? An important strategic thrust of the BVTB is to improve the current system of apprenticeship.?? In September 2010, the BVTB participated in a study tour to observe the apprenticeship training system in Germany and Great Britain.?? Based on that experience the Board is reviewing its current system of apprenticeship to ensure that its programme reflects a good mix of methodological, entrepreneurship and pedagogical skills which is essential for a successful apprenticeship system," the Labour Minister remarked.

The new Barbados office is located at the old Masonic Lodge in Belleville and will oversee qualifications across the region. The City and Guilds organisation, which was established in 1878, is the United Kingdom’s leading vocational education office. It offers over 500 qualifications in the industrial sector in over 80 countries.


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