The competitors and team who will be attending the World Skills 2017 competition in Abu Dhabi. (TVET Council)

Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, is calling for an end to the prevailing thinking that academic qualifications were ‘it’, while technical and vocational education and training (TVET) must continue to take a back seat.

She made this observation last Saturday while addressing a press conference to introduce the World Skills Barbados team that would be travelling to Abu Dhabi in October for the 44th World Skills completion.

“It is important that young people know that we attach a lot of significance to Technical and Vocational Educational Training.  We are trying to change the conversation,” Senator Byer Suckoo emphasised.

Despite the critics of TVET training, the Labour Minister said Government was committed to investing in this type of training so that the country would see that the investment in this area was worthwhile.

“We want to change that conversation because it is important that Barbadians know that whatever skills they have are important to our development. We need all our skills,” she maintained.

Dr. Byer Suckoo expressed the hope that the issuing of work permits for some skilled jobs such as A Class carpenters would be a thing of the past.

“Not that we don’t want migrant workers to come in, but the justification would not be that we don’t have any available in Barbados, and that’s what I want to see.  I want to see that every person in Barbados can fill those niches and we don’t have to bring in persons because we are not producing enough persons at that level of excellence,” she said.

The competitors who will be representing Barbados in Abu Dhabi are: Roshida Griffith, garment; Takiya Jordan, hairdressing; Akeil Craig-Browne, automotive; and Tinisha Hall, culinary arts.

The team will be led by the Executive Director of the TVET Council, Henderson Eastmond.  He will be accompanied by Technical Delegate, Dario Holder; and Team leader, Wendy McClean. The experts also journeying to Abu Dhabi are Lisa Holder, garment; Wendy Bishop, hairdressing; Wayne Maycock, automotive; and Steve Phillips, culinary arts.

During the event, there will also be a youth forum, and the representatives selected are Keaanndra Marshall and Akel Bailey.

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