The recently-launched Barbados Construction Gateway Training Initiativehttps://bcgti.bcc.edu.bb/ (BCGTI) must be seen as a way for the island to also fulfil the mandate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This was disclosed by Principal of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI), Ian Drakes as he participated in the launch of the initiative at his institution in Wildey, St. Michael, last Wednesday.
The principal, while pointing out that construction was one of the main pillars of the world’s economy, said in 2019, it provided employment for 7.5 million individuals, or five percent of the world’s overall jobs.
He reminded the gathering that the need for a renewed construction workforce has been emphasised to satisfy six of the 17 SDGs.
He outlined these as: SDG 6: clean water and sanitation; SDG 7: affordable and clean energy; SDG 9: industry, innovation and infrastructure; SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities; SDG 12: responsible consumption and production; and SDG 13: climate action.
“The Barbados Construction Gateway Training Initiative provides a means for not just employment, but for Barbados to fulfil the mandates of these SDGs,” he stressed, while telling prospective students that upon completion of the gateway project, the SJPI stood ready and able to provide further training to ensure they had the opportunity to be “the best in the construction field in Barbados”.
“SJPI provides theory and practical instruction in authentic facilities in areas related to carpentry; masonry; plumbing; architectural drafting and many others. We offer a variety of qualifications in the areas related to construction, while incorporating skills and general knowledge necessary for operating in the 21st century. Our experienced and knowledgeable instructors work with you to ensure that you are able to gain certificates, diplomas and/or Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) in your chosen area,” Mr. Drakes remarked.
The SJPI is one of the Government institutions facilitating the BCGTI that aims to train 3,000 trades persons to ensure that a new core of male and female workers are available on island to fill various jobs expected with this year’s construction boom.
The other training institutions are the Barbados Vocational Training Board, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council and the Barbados Community College.
Mr. Drakes, while commending the linkages, acknowledged that over the years the SJPI had actively formed partnerships with other tertiary level educational institutions to ensure training possibilities.
He further noted the management team and instructional staff had formed Memoranda of Understanding with TVET institutions in Trinidad and Tobago and Canada and most recently, the SJPI embarked on a partnership with the United States (US) Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS, to add the US as a viable option for education and employment for TVET students in Barbados.
He added that as part of student training, the SJPI partners with local government and private companies in the construction industry to provide them with valuable work experience.
While training, as an aspect of the Barbados Construction Gateway Training Initiative, is expected to start in May with the offering of some 24 courses by the SJPI and the others, there are, however, two other components that will later accompany it. These are job attachments and tools acquisition for the trainees.