The successful implementation of a training partnership between the Nature Care Group and Asymmetrix Consulting Inc. has pleased the Competency-Based Training Fund (CBTF).

This was expressed recently by Consultant Manager of the CBTF, K. Anderson Lowe, as he congratulated the two entities at the home of Nature Care, Searles, Christ Church.

The visit there formed part of an Administrative Mission by Education Lead Specialist with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, and representatives of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, to assess the status of the Skills For The Future Program (SFTF).

Giving an assessment of the relationship, Mr. Lowe said: ???The Nature Care Group Partnership has so far trained, assessed and certified 110 trainees in Amenity Horticulture Level 1 Caribbean Vocational Qualifications. In fact, this training programme has been so successful that the partnership has suggested and the Fund has agreed to also offer a Level 2 programme in Amenity Horticulture and we expect that this second programme will be just as successful as their first one.???

The CBTF is a pilot project funded by the IDB to provide competency-based technical and vocational education and training to the Barbadian workforce. It falls under Component I of the SFTF, a US $20 million Government of Barbados/IDB initiative that seeks to improve the quality and relevance of secondary and post-secondary education by promoting a demand-driven system of education with greater cooperation between training institutions and private sector employers.

Of the CBTF???s success, Mr. Lowe said: ???We have received over 100 applications in three funding cycles announced so far. Some 2,000 persons have already signed up for and received training to upgrade their skills and more importantly be assessed and certified as competent in their occupational areas, with the 25 partnerships now participating in the Fund. The Fund has committed BBD$14 million to train 4,000 persons.???

In association with the TVET Council, the Fund has also developed and/or validated upwards of 20 occupational standards and associated curricula, as well as trained a number of trainers, assessors, internal and external verifiers to facilitate the assessment and certification processes.

As he acknowledged the involvement and support of CBTF???s key stakeholders, including the IDB, the Ministry, TVET Council, training partnerships and the media, Mr. Lowe offered special praise to all trainees for recognising ???the value of TVET education to their own development??? and for giving of their time and effort to enhance and certify their skills.

Meanwhile, Dr. Richard Graham, trainer for the Nature Care Group/Asymmetrix Consulting Inc. partnership, in thanking the IDB and CBTF, hailed it as a dream fulfilled for both entities ???to have persons trained in this area, recognising the need for persons who ordinarily would have left school with no certification and who would have come to work without the requisite skills to actually work properly???.

He added that what Asymmetrix was able to do was to have persons quite capable with the ability not only to work at Nature Care but to work at any horticulture centre throughout Barbados and the region. He said they looked forward to Level 2 and to training not only those from Level 1 but others who recognised the use that such a skill can have for them in furthering their careers, either as employees or in being self-employed.

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