The Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) is providing vocational and technological studies to create the necessary skills for enhancing Barbados’ development.
And Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, got a first-hand look at the various areas of study today, while on a guided tour of the institution by Principal Ian Drakes. These include renewable energy, mechanical maintenance engineering (3D printing), electrical engineering (refrigeration and air-conditioning) and motor vehicle engineering technology (electric vehicles).
Following the tour, Minister Sutherland said: “While I am aware of what the SJPI offers, this morning’s tour was an eye-opener.… Having the tourism sector being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to look to new industries and push new frontiers, and I see the SJPI as the future, not for mainstream careers, but for providing future skills, which our young men and women can become pivotal in, areas like renewable energy.”
In addition, Minister Sutherland pointed out that the institution is one of “first world” standards and he believes that “once given its scale, good quality career options, whether they be in refrigeration or renewable energy, can be pushed to help Barbados achieve its goal of becoming 100 per cent fossil fuel free by 2030…. It is also the sector [renewable energy] that will allow us to see some growth within our economy”.
Mr. Sutherland also expressed pleasure at seeing young people from the Barbados Youth Advance Corps (BYAC) developing lifelong skills at the SJPI, which will allow them to earn a living.
Principal Drakes, in thanking the Minister for his visit, noted that: “Seeing to me helps us to understand the youth development in terms of technical and vocational education, as that explodes across the region and also in Barbados.
“And, so it helps to give us a better understanding of where we can go and where we can set our mandates really, to move these positive technologies across Barbados and expand it into the region.”
Mr. Drakes also said that the SJPI was pleased to partner with the Ministry in providing programmes that are creating digital citizens, and made a plea for the Ministry of Education to provide the institute with more “literal work space”, in order to expand the numbers being trained in areas such as renewable energy, as it relates to electric vehicles, photovoltaic systems and wind energy.
Also on the tour was Deputy Principal, Audrey Drayton; Director of the BYAC, Hallie Haynes; Director of the Division of Youth Affairs, Cleviston Hunte; and Chief Community Development Officer, E. Yolande Skeete.