Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney, reassured those applicants who did not get into the first cohort of the Barbados Construction Gateway Training Initiative, that officials will be in contact with them over the next couple of weeks. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

With training institutions currently examining ways to include applicants who did not make the first trainee cohort of the Barbados Construction Gateway Training Initiative (BCGTI), Education Minister, Kay McConney, is assuring these applicants that their submissions will soon be considered.

The assurance came today as Ms. McConney addressed a presentation ceremony at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI), Wildey, St. Michael, where some $75,000 in tool kits were handed over to her on behalf of trainees in the programme from Carter’s General Store.

Acknowledging the response to the initiative was “overwhelming”, with over 2,700 applications received within the first two weeks of the BCGTI “being out there”, she said: “And, what it did is it signalled to us the level of need that there is for this kind of training.”

She noted there were calls from construction industry and others for more trained and competent persons who could arrive on the job site “ready to work”, and stressed this was the goal of the BCGTI.  

The Education Minister added: “For those persons who did not get into this first cohort, we have about just 341 who have already been accepted into this first cohort and this stretches across 12 disciplines offered across the training institutions.  And what we have heard from the public is: ‘what happen to me?’

“Those who did not hear back – well I am letting you know that the Barbados Construction Gateway Training Initiative – we are working together and over the next couple weeks, you will be hearing people calling you, so please answer your phones because we will be calling to let you know where will you fit next into the Construction Gateway programme. Some of you will make it into the next cohort; some of you may be asked: ‘Do you prefer your second choice?’ and some of you will understand how we are prioritising for this.”

She also stated that a significant number of persons who were either working part time or working full time had applied for the BCGTI.  

“That was certainly a surprise for us because we expected many persons who were not fully employed or not employed at all to be applying and we did get the majority of persons who are not currently employed and who have an ambition to indeed enter the construction industry.  We now have to figure out how do we address the matter of those persons who have applied – who are employed fully or who are partly/part time employed,” said Minister McConney.

However, she emphasised that while it was the intention of her Ministry not to turn anyone away, priority would be given to “those persons who are committed to entering the construction industry immediately after and who have been able to demonstrate that”.

Ms. McConney also pointed out that the Ministry did not close the portal for application to the BCGTI, but it was a case of the application being upgraded to collect additional information to allow the Education Ministry “to be better able to prioritise and filter those who are in”.  

Stating that the application form should be back on line soon, she stressed that even if an applicant did not get into the next cohort, the information would allow the Ministry to determine the additional capacity needed to accommodate the construction industry.  

Trainees who participated in the hand-over ceremony heard that Barbados was depending on them to leave the programme being competent and ready, where they could “go in and make a meaningful difference in the construction Industry”.

“These tool kits that you see here are part of giving you a start. Because once you get that you will be able to take them with you after your training. They are yours, so that after your training is done, after you have had your job attachment and you are ready for the world-of-work, you can walk into your next opportunity with all the tools you need to give you the best start,” Minister McConney stated.

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