Secondary school students between the ages of 14 and 16 will now have the opportunity to put their technical and vocational skills to the test in the inaugural WorldSkills Barbados Juniors Competition.
This was revealed today by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Dr. Romel Springer, during a presentation ceremony held to award the Barbadian team that competed in WorldSkills Kazan 2019 in Russia – a skills Olympics for persons 16 to 22 years old.
Dr. Springer said the WorldSkills Barbados Juniors Competition would be held from November 26 to 28 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, initially in four skill areas: Cabinet Making, Cooking, Electrical Installation, and Hairdressing.
He explained that based on post competition research and analysis conducted by the TVET Council following Barbados’ performance at the WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 international competition, it showed that countries with successful TVET systems exposed their youth to TVET at a much younger age than Barbados did.
“We are recognizing that if you want individuals to have the opportunity to develop excellence in a particular skill, you need to start training and preparation much earlier than what obtains now in Barbados.
“If we can get our young people to strive for excellence from as young as 14 or 15 years old, it provides them with a better chance to meet global standards from an earlier age,” he maintained.
WorldSkills is a hub for skills excellence and development which includes the world’s largest technical and vocational skills competition. This year’s competition, WorldSkills Kazan 2019, saw over 1,300 young persons from 63 countries compete in one of 56 skill areas ranging from Hairdressing to Drone Technology.
The WorldSkills programme also includes research, skills promotion, career building, education and training, and international cooperation and development.
By participating in international competitions, Barbados is able to benchmark its TVET system against the world’s and identify gaps and possible solutions.
Dr. Springer noted: “We have been told that the young people who compete at the WorldSkills Competition, which targets persons 16 to 22 years old, are already skilled professionals with four years of apprenticeship and post-secondary or tertiary training under their belts.”
He added that the WorldSkills Barbados Juniors Competition should also complement the expansion of the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) and improve the quality of the national TVET system.
The NVQs and CVQs facilitate access to competence-based TVET across all secondary schools in Barbados.
“The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training is committed to using the WorldSkills Programme to ensuring the quality of our national TVET system is at world standard,” Dr. Springer asserted.