The Barbados Vocational Training Board is significantly more than an institution to send troublemakers; it is a place for winners.
This has once again been confirmed when BVTB’s cosmetology student, Akeila Chapman, won the silver medal in hairdressing at the Worldskills Americas competition in Brazil.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, made this assertion on Monday when she delivered the keynote address at the celebratory function for Worldskills Americas Silver Medallist, Akeila Chapman at the Warrens Office Complex, St. Michael.
Byer-Suckoo congratulated the 21-year-old on her success and praised her tutor, Wendy Bishop and other facilitators for their input. Also lauding the sponsors of the local leg of the competition, Worldskills Barbados, she added: “Thanks also goes to the BVTB for really showing us and all Barbadians your true worth.”
Stressing that the win “raises the bar for the general public”, she explained that having students participate in international technical and vocational skills competitions was one way to highlight and increase the value of such qualities and the BVTB.
“Too often the idea of skills training gets demoted in people’s minds. [Too often we see] skills training as something you do if you can’t do anything else. So, you have a boy who is giving trouble, you send him to skills training; you have a girl who is out of school and you don’t want her to get pregnant, [so] you send her to skills training. Skills training is seen as that kind of thing in too many people’s eyes,” she lamented.
Also lauding the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council for executing “the vision to take Barbados on the world stage”, the Labour Minister noted that the Worldskills Barbados theme, Shaping a world class workforce through innovation, creativity and skills development, uniquely addressed where it was hoped to position Barbados.
“And, that is what we need … especially when we talk about where we want to position Barbados as a society and an economy. It’s not enough to do well enough, [so we have to] not just put emphasis on education but focus on creativity, innovation and skills training,” she said.