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26 Mar 2023 11:50 AM
Best: Creative Methods Needed to Revamp Vocational Sector

Best: Creative Methods Needed to Revamp Vocational Sector

The challenge of keeping technical and vocational education and training (TVET) infrastructure up to date and relevant in an increasingly sophisticated and rapidly changing world requires new and creative solutions.

This sentiment was expressed by Mr. Daniel Best, Technical Officer at the TVET Council, during the Youth Farm 2021 Programme Closing Ceremony, which was held at Kensington Oval on Friday, March 3rd, 2023.

Emphasising the importance of the TVET system in preparing young Barbadians for efficient performance in the workplace, Mr. Best said: "It is clear that if Barbados is to develop and expand its agricultural sector, more people, particularly our youth, must graduate from programmes such as the Youth Farm Programme."

He further acknowledged that accomplishing this effort requires sustained funding greater than what the TVET Council’s Employment and Training Fund (ETF) is able to provide. “The CARICOM’s Regional TVET Strategy for Workforce Development and Economic Competitiveness notes that given the significant role which the TVET discipline has to play in the development of a competitive workforce, governments can no longer be expected to fund TVET to the levels required to meet the needs of the modern world of work.” he stated.

In response to this situation, Mr. Best cited the regional TVET strategy, which states that countries are increasingly looking to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) not only to improve programme quality and relevance, but also to leverage industry and government resources to support education and training.

“These PPPs involve government, education and industry in areas of sectoral economic development. With the discipline of TVET repositioned as ‘TVET for Workforce Development and Economic Competitiveness’ there is a great opportunity for it to be funded as part of major economic development initiatives undertaken by broad based partnerships of regional and national sectoral bodies and various government departments.” He added.

He went on to say that, with COVID weighing on the region's developing economies, it is time to revisit the Regional TVET Strategy and fully implement it, particularly the call for better financing of national TVET systems.

In his final remarks, Mr. Best commended the graduates for completing their programmes despite difficulties posed by COVID. “Farming and working in agriculture is a very noble career. Yours will be the hands that help to feed the nation, a purpose that is both honourable and very important to the effective functioning of any country. I hope you can use your new skills whether it is for your future career purposes or simply for your own personal pleasure in the form of a hobby.”

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