Ian Hickling of Lenstec (left) and Geoffrey Ullyett, Workshop Manager of Ullyett’s Machine Shop Service, chatting with students in the newly named Ullyett and Lenstec Computer Numerical Control Laboratory. (S.Forde/BGIS)

The Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) is on a mission to upgrade its courses to meet the changing technological demands of the local workforce.

Speaking at the renaming of three rooms at the Institute this morning to recognize the contribution of some its industry partners, Deputy Principal, Administration, Ms. Audrey Jones-Drayton, disclosed that SJPI was planning to bring more technology based courses on stream soon.

These include new and advanced pattern engineering technology for the Garment Technology course as well as advanced courses related to robotics, drone manufacture and operation and those that focus on hybrid and electric powered vehicles.

The Deputy Principal said partnerships with the business community were crucial to the quality of technicians that the Institute produced. This morning A&B Music Supplies Ltd, Ullyett’s Machine Shop Service, and Digicel (Barbados) Ltd and Actavo Network Solutions were recognized for their contribution over the years, through their partnerships under the Competency-Based Training Fund (CBTF).

The Fund, which falls under the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training’s Skills for the Future Program, awards partnerships to businesses to have their staff trained in a particular field at local training institutions, including the SJPI.

During the ceremony, the Computer Numerical Control Laboratory was renamed the Ullyett and Lenstech CNC Laboratory; the Sound Technology Studio, the A&B Music Supplies Ltd Sound Technology Studio; and the Computer Networking Technology Lab, the Digicel/Actavo Computer Networking Technology Lab.

“Today, we celebrate three of our prized industry partners with whom we have collaborated to train members of their staff, our learners and other members of the public, some of whom are retooling in preparation for employment.

From left to right: The SJPI’s Systems Database Administrator, Grantley Robinson; Government Sales Manager for Digicel/Actavo, Philip Carter; and Digicel’s Marketing Manager, Leia Walker standing next to some of the equipment in the new Digicel/Actavo Computer Networking Technology Lab. (S.Forde/BGIS)

“These partnerships have resulted in more competent technicians in their fields. This is in keeping with the trend at the institution to offer more technology based courses, so it’s not just a name change here as some would have published,” she said, adding that there were other industry partners “to celebrate” as well as other industry players who she hoped would come on board as sponsors and partners.

Manager of the Competency-Based Training Fund Management Unit, Anderson Lowe, said SJPI had been tasked with taking Barbados through what is known as the fourth industrial revolution – the technological age.

“The buzz words and phrases abound: the ubiquitous mobile device, unlimited access to knowledge, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, drones, 3-D printing, energy storage, robotics, the internet of things, all these must now be woven into the fabric of the institution. And the workforce of the next 50 years must have the appropriate technical skills to perform successfully in this new environment.

“As the premier institution for providing technical and vocational education in Barbados, SJPI must take the lead in getting our workforce work-ready in this new industrial age,” he stated.

Mr. Lowe said SJPI had made four successful applications to the CBTF, and had been awarded some $2 million to train, assess and certify just under 200 employees from the local industry.

He further explained that included in the awards was funding for the provision of the latest equipment, technology and facilities deemed necessary by both employers and SJPI to deliver ‘fourth revolution’ training.


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