A number of workers from across the public service will spend the next few months learning to speak Spanish, thanks to an agreement between the Governments of Barbados and Colombia and the University Externado de Colombia.

During an opening ceremony for the course, which was held recently at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Foreign Service Officer, Mandisa Downes, explained that the programme was an area of cooperation in a context of longstanding and amicable relations between the two countries.

???A Memorandum of Understanding, which provides the legal framework for the undertaking of this Spanish training, is currently being negotiated between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries.

“It will also provide for a full exchange between the two countries, with Barbados providing English as a foreign language training to Colombian students, business persons and public service officers,??? she added.

Ms. Downes also pointed out that the level of cooperation between the countries extended to other areas. ???The Government of Colombia has continued to demonstrate a commitment to strengthening relations with Barbados since our two countries established diplomatic relations in January 1972???

“In this regard, the Government of Colombia, through the agencies Artesanias de Colombia and Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA), have delivered technical assistance in the development of craft skills and practice with the objective of improving competitiveness in this sector.???

Since 2013, Barbadian artisans, trainers and officers of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation have received training in leather work, jewellery fabrication, fibers, textile dyeing and product development and design.

The tangible benefits derived from this technical assistance are evidenced by a more structured local crafts sector; the transference of skills learnt to students in local schools, as well as artisans creating and producing new product lines which are being retailed and displayed at retail outlets, craft markets and exhibitions across the island, the Foreign Service Officer said.

The course is expected to train 50 public officers and will end on March 11, 2016.??


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