Seven partnerships, are recipients of the first disbursement of the over US $6 million grant fund on offer by the Competency Based Training Fund (CBTF).

Announced yesterday, the winning partnerships are: Intimate Hotels/Career Development Institute; Guardian General Insurance/BIMAP; Barbados Port Inc./Caribbean Maritime Institute; West Toonz Inc./BIMAP; AC Manufacturing/Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic; Barbados Youth Business Trust/CILC Action Coach and The Potter Centre/Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.

Education Minister, Ronald Jones in addressing the award???s ceremony at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Maxwell Main Road, Christ Church, commended that organisation for assisting with the effort at competency-based training which the partnerships will bring about.

Reminding those gathered that Barbados had a long relationship with the IDB, and in 1999 had been provided with funds for technology integration into schools, the Minister noted that the CBTF???s focus would be on ???those who needed to be equipped and re-equipped with the skills and competencies and talents that we need in the country???.

???No country can simply survive on the academics. Academics and technical vocational education and training must run on the same track of endeavour so that there are total benefits that can be provided or that a country can derive from the competencies of its citizens,??? said Mr. Jones, who also bears responsibility for Science, Technology and Innovation.

Urging the successful partnerships not to squander their grant funds, he said: ???Whether you have obtained the resources from the IDB or any other lending institution you have to maximize their full usage. We don???t want to see resources frittered away especially at a time like this when resources are extremely scarce.???

Partners also heard that they had made it through the selection process but the next step would place them under ???extreme scrutiny???. Explaining further, Mr. Jones said this would be about beneficiaries ???feeling good??? about what the partners would achieve with them.

???If they do not feel good, they will exit the programme without necessarily demonstrating the various skills and competencies which have in fact been developed within those young persons,??? said the Education Minister.

Meanwhile, Barbados??? Country Representative for the IDB, Joel Branski said the IDB had affirmed its commitment to the island by approving the loan resources of US $20 Million for the Skills for the Future Programme and the CBTF was a significant component of this project.

Noting that the awards represented the culmination of years of collaboration between the Bank and Government, especially the Ministries of Education and Labour, Mr. Branski said: ???The IDB is pleased with the efforts of the Government to incorporate the needs of the private sector for the various components of the Skills For The Future project.?????

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