Technical and vocational (TECVOC) education and training is often treated as the Cinderella sister to ???traditional??? education; however, skills-based industries, driven by technological evolution, continue to move from the sidelines to the mainstream.

This assertion was made by Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she delivered remarks at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council???s Website and Magazine Launch & WorldSkills Barbados 2014 Reception this morning at the Warrens Office Complex.

The Labour Minister observed that ???We used to refer to TVET as the ???alternative??? approach to traditional education, and some still do. But, truth be told, it is not an alternative but should be viewed as a complementary tool for the development of our human capital.???

Highlighting the fact that today???s job market required individuals who were both well-educated and highly trained, Senator Suckoo noted that ???Today???s TECVOC is about preparing learners for new exciting careers in areas such as autotronics, computer aided design and drafting, sound engineering, robotics, process engineering, dental hygiene, fashion technology, alternative energy technology, and some areas we haven’t heard of yet in Barbados!???

With the Regional TVET Strategy 2012 calling for the promotion and marketing of the ???new or modern TVET???, Minister Suckoo said that ???there is now a greater realisation that TECVOC is firstly not an area associated with few or low skills, but in fact, requires highly developed skills and competencies, and secondly, is a key driver of economies.???

While the Labour Minister observed that TECVOC was dynamic and would likely produce new career opportunities which would benefit the economy, she acknowledged that these successes could not be limited to our shores.

??????we are aware that not all the opportunities will reside at home. In fact, we expect that members of our skilled workforce will seek and find opportunities out of Barbados, since we will not have the capacity to absorb all our skilled graduates. This will also provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to create goods and services which can be marketed, not only locally, but also regionally and internationally,??? she said.

Expressing her gratitude to the TVET Council for its contribution to building Barbados??? skilled work force, Dr. Suckoo also lauded the organisation???s official launch of its website, and its online magazine 21st Century Worker.

???TECVOC provides many avenues for development, of this we are convinced. So we must ensure that our students, trainers and job seekers are made aware of the exciting career opportunities which can be accessed,??? the Minister said.

The launch also featured the presentation of finalists for WorldSkills Barbados 2014, who will compete in culinary arts, garment making, beauty therapy, automotive technology and hair dressing disciplines.??The competition will be held in March.

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