Acting Minister of Labour and Social Security, Denis Kellman, addressing the opening ceremony of the Worldskills Barbados Competition at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. (A. Miller/BGIS)

The notion that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is for young persons who have not excelled academically has been challenged and dismissed.

Acting Minister of Labour and Social Security, Denis Kellman, has declared that the problem affecting TVET professions is not the skill set of the artisans, but rather a mentality "where you supposedly work with your hands and not your heads".

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Worldskills Barbados Competition at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) yesterday, he suggested that the skills and talents that would be displayed in that inaugural contest "will eradicate this myth, and prove that TVET promotes creativity and innovative thinking as witnessed in modern innovations of science and technology where TVET skills are used."

Minister Kellman lauded the TVET Council and its partner, WorldSkills International (WSI), for not only "hosting this Skills Olympics", but for also providing a platform to "showcase true Bajan talent and potential".

Explaining that events such as Worldskills Barbados would "help our young professionals to build their confidence and self-esteem", he further pointed out that it also provided encouragement for the youth to pursue enterprising careers as skilled technicians in various disciplines.

In an effort to combat negative stereotypes, Minister Kellman recommended that technical and vocational skills be cast in a positive light.

"I believe that career counselling must be strengthened to challenge the myths that formal post-secondary education is the sole means of attaining upward social mobility," he emphasised, adding that "young persons must be educated to the fact that TVET is a viable pathway to success."

Furthermore, the acting Labour Minister stressed that the Worldskills Barbados Competition "augurs well for the development of a modern workforce which is well-trained, dynamic and responsive to the challenges of the local, regional and international environments.

"From a national perspective, this competition will not only promote the value of vocational skills and excellence in skills development in Barbados, but also provide much desired recognition of teachers, trainers and training institutions alike, for their role in developing the TVET system in Barbados," he observed.

The island’s leading TVET institutions, the Barbados Community College, the Barbados Vocational Training Board and the SJPP will participate in the competition.??

Participants of the Worldskills Barbados Competition will be assessed by a cadre of highly skilled judges.
(A. Miller/BGIS)

Inviting the public to support the 29 talented students who will be showcasing their skills, Minister Kellman told the youngsters, trainers and supporters: "It is through your continued efforts that Barbados will be transformed into an efficient, innovate economy that can thrust this nation forward."

Admission is free to the Worldskills Barbados Competition.?? Patrons will have the opportunity to witness the contestants face off in the areas of Fashion Technology, Hair Dressing, Beauty Therapy and Auto Technology, tomorrow, Thursday March 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the SJPP, Wildey, St. Michael.?? The grounds of that campus will also be transformed to showcase sponsors’ exhibits and careers displays.

The competition will climax with the culinary arts contest on Friday, March 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the PomMarine Hotel, Marine Gardens, Hastings, Christ Church.??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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