If Barbados seeks to continue to build a world class work force, much more than just skills or academic achievements is needed.
Moreover, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harry Husbands stated that a trainee who possessed skills but was untrainable or had a poor work ethic could not be expected to add value to any organization.
Addressing participants at the closing ceremony of World Skills Barbados Competition 2014 this evening at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic Husbands said it was for this reason that he hoped this competition could be expanded to secondary schools. He said this would not only see an increased number of institutions and competitors taking part in World Skills Barbados but it would therefore result in more young people being exposed to performing their skills at higher standards.
“Competitions such as these help to shape the minds and character of participants and by extension help to shape a world class workforce. Participants require to demonstrate high skills, be creative and to be innovative in their efforts to achieve the top prize. Participating in this competition also assists in the development of core skills. Skills such as problem solving, working in teams and thinking critically must be coupled with the knowledge and skills needed for this competition. These core skills are as important to building a world class workforce as the possession of knowledge and skills in beauty therapy, culinary arts or automotive technology,” he said.
In order for there to be an expansion in the competition, however, he recognised that students must meet World Skills International standards and be trained to these international standards. This could only be reached, Husbands acknowledged, if they had access to facilities which were of world class standard and outfitted with up to date technologies, tools and equipment.
Thus, one of the ways that the goal of expansion could be met was through increased strategic partnerships between business organizations and training institutions, Husbands stated.
“This can be in the form of technical assistance, sponsorship of students to seminars in other countries and assisting with the upgrading of specific facilities with up to date tools and equipment and 21st century technologies. I am confident that we have in Barbados a cadre of instructors and trainers that can train students to World Skills International standards,” he said.”