Acting Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, cuts the ribbon to launch the National Career Showcase. From left are President of the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors (BAGC), Margaret Grant; Vice President of BAGC, Alicia Barker-Grant; Chief Marketing Officer of Barbados Light and Power, one of the sponsors of the showcase, Stephen Worme; and students attending the event.

Several opportunities await students in their search for career options.

This was the underlying message issued to students who attended today’s opening of the Sixth National Career Showcase hosted by the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Acting Chief Education Officer (CEO), Laurie King, in defining the term "opportunity’, told the third and fifth formers that "a chance", "a prospect" or "simply an occasion", sometimes "comes but once".?? He said: "Today, the world is a continual cycle of change, the opportunities, the chances, prospects and occasions are vast not only globally, but also in Barbados."

While noting that Barbados was "not as far behind as some may purport", the senior official in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development pointed out that considerable emphasis continued to be placed on human and social capital development through significant investments in education and related sciences. ??

Mr. King stressed: "The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with educational institutions at all levels, strives to provide conducive learning environments to ensure the inculcation of appropriate knowledge, skills and competencies among all learners.?? The options are wide and varied."

Students were also told that while those who were academically successful could be commended, skilled persons who had engineered and "redesigned our thinking through technology and vocational education" were also worthy of applause.?? "We are equally proud of you," Mr. King declared, as he explained that Government had taken the decision to broaden the certification framework, with this latter contributing group in mind.

"… We [the Ministry] are, therefore, forging ahead to offer a technical-vocational qualification, namely, the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) with the assistance of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). The CVQ is a workforce certification delivered within the context of general education in schools," Mr. King explained. ??

According to the Acting CEO, the implementation process has already started with a pilot programme in nine schools in four areas, namely: carpentry, electrical, cosmetology and masonry. ??He said: "This will be expanded to other areas in the future and would add value and currency to many of the skill programmes offered by the technical and vocational institutions and to those students who are interested in pursuing such studies in schools. This qualification will take a person from a certificate to Bachelor’s and Master’s levels and beyond."

Students also heard that opportunities existed for them through short and long-term skills programmes offered at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Barbados Vocational Training Board and at the University of the West Indies; as well as through access to the National Development Scholarship. ??And, they were further encouraged to explore opportunities in the areas of the arts, culture and sports and business.

Of the latter, the educational official said it was becoming "more attractive to Barbadians and much training was afforded those who were desirous of becoming entrepreneurs."??

He observed, "If we are to be realistic we would all agree that governments cannot provide all the employment opportunities for its people and therefore some of these must be created by innovative individuals who dare to dream and fulfil those dreams and thereby contribute to a small island’s economy such as Barbados."


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