Twenty-seven participants who make up the first cohort of the Associate Degree in Procurement at the Barbados Community College (BCC) will be instrumental in making a change in government procurement.

Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones emphasised this today as he addressed the official launch of the new programme, at the BCC.

He said: ???There had to be something before which was not standing the test of time in order for this to be introduced into Government???s procurement system and for the call??? to the Inter-American Development Bank to assist in the financing of this activity and??? to the Barbados Community College to be the lead provider in education for this particular activity.???

He told the participants they would become familiar with the new legislation that would soon guide the process. ???You are here to gather knowledge and skills to develop the appropriate competencies, albeit in a theoretical way.

“The competencies would further develop as you interface and interact in your various departments, ministries and statutory bodies,??? Mr. Jones said, noting that already they were familiar with related legislation.

Although it currently targets public sector employees, Principal of the BCC, Dr. Gladstone Best said the programme was part of the capacity development strategy that would provide ongoing procurement training at several levels for both the public and private sectors.

According to him, the course, which started in September 2014, examines a number of areas. These include processes involved in planning, acquisition of goods and services, and works from all sources to be achieved at the best possible quality, quantity and price.

Chairman of the Board of Management, Stephen Broome noted that while the programme was essential for the public sector, the BCC hoped it would be extended to the private sector.

???Certainly we believe the private sector can benefit from such a programme. Generally, there are a number of large companies in Barbados both in the financial services and retail and distribution who have procurement departments.

“Some of them are called sourcing departments and they too can benefit from the training, but it is one of the programmes that we believe can be extended beyond Barbados to both the public and private sectors within the OECS region,??? Mr. Broome said.

The objectives of the new associate degree programme include providing leadership for the procurement of materials, services and consultancies through the use of industry best practices; driving and managing cost reduction strategies; developing budgets and creating the necessary tools for assessing actual budgets versus forecasted budgets.

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