The success of Barbados’ efforts with the Skills for the Future Program (SFTF) was lauded at last night’s awards ceremony.
Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, in her opening remarks at Sandals Royal Barbados said: “It is my privilege to welcome you to the Awards Ceremony for the Skills for the Future Program a project that was so well-executed by the Ministry…that Barbados was the first runner up at the Inter-American Development Bank Superheroes of Development Contest in 2018.”
Continuing, the Education Minister highlighted that out of 82 proposals from 26 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, Barbados’ SFTF program ended up being one of eight finalists in the contest.
She also gave a brief background of how Barbados developed the SFTF program, which began in 2012 with the primary vision being to enhance the skills of the workforce and support Government’s Human Resource Development Strategy.
Minister Bradshaw stressed: “For many years, our educational system has focused heavily on academic-based teaching and learning without paying greater attention to the multiple learning styles and various ways in which our students develop.
“Since education and skills are critical to the social and personal transformation of our citizenry, the advancement of which the Government of Barbados is fully committed, the Skills for the Future project was seen as a vehicle of change towards improving the quality and relevance of Secondary Education and the effectiveness of Technical and Vocational Education in Barbados.”
IDB Country Representative, Juan Carlos de la Hoz Viñas, in praising Barbados’ SFTF program, stated: “The Ministry of Education has set a new standard in its leadership and ownership of the Skills for the Future Program. Super projects must have committed and visionary leaders.
“They must be prepared to adjust as challenges arise while implementing the project. Good projects need super teams that plan efficiently and execute well. And the Skills for the Future team has done just that. In fact, it has been recognized as one of the best performing programs in the Barbados investment loan portfolio.”
Keynote speaker at the awards ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of Trident Animation Studios Ltd., Stephen Savoury, believes that the SFTF program enabled the first step to creating a sustainable future for Barbadian youth, by helping those less academic to gain skills in areas such as animation.
Mr. Savoury said that education reform is necessary and the time had come for “rejigging the system” to provide education in areas of the creative economy, information technology, transport and logistics, maritime pursuits and renewable energy.
He added, that by so doing, Barbados would be “creating the type of sustainable future that each citizen aspires to, and providing the freedom of choice that each Barbadian desires when they think about what their future life should look like.”
During the awards ceremony, 25 project participants were highlighted for their innovations and achievements throughout the SFTF program. Out of the 18 categories awarded, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology received three of the awards.