Residents of one St James community will be added to the thousands of Barbadians who have benefitted from information and communication technology (ICT) training right in their communities.
The Community Development Department yesterday opened the Baywoods Resource Centre, housed in a building that has been renovated and furnished with computers and other ICT equipment.
“This centre will not only provide a wide range of computer courses, but will be equipped with both wired and wireless Internet access and an area for study, or to be used as temporary office facilities,” said Minister of Social Care and Community Development Steve Blackett in brief remarks, before joining Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner in unveiling a plaque for the centre and cutting the ribbon to declare the computer centre open.
“We will add a library for the younger community members and all the computers will be outfitted with the Aries 11-Plus software for those preparing for the Common Entrance Exam, and QuickBooks for those small business persons who wish to do their accounting.”
Blackett said that this refurbishing and “repurposing” is also being done to the Gall Hill Community Centre.
This facilitating of Barbadians, especially early school leavers, with free Level II ICT training through community projects, began since 2002, and stepped up a notch over time, according to Blackett.
“In 2009, we moved from merely offering basic training in information technology to more purposeful income generating,” he said. “In 2017, with Cabinet’s approval, we have added an additional 15 new courses aimed at attracting young school leavers with few academic qualifications, small business persons and entrepreneurs, line workers and persons who wish to rebrand themselves or learn a new marketable skill.”
Blackett said the Community Development Department has been seeking to ensure the skills imparted are of the Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) Council standard.
Among the programmes included in the training to be offered at the Baywoods Resource Centre and other centres are: Web Page Design; Computer Programme Writing; Business Office Technology; Computer Graphics; Data Base Management; Computer, Tablet and Cell Phone Repairs; Networking; Building Drawing; Social Media Marketing; Internet Banking; Reality of Work; Music Production for Beginners; and Security and Home Automation.
The Baywoods location will continue its traditional community centre recreational activities such as draughts, pool, darts and table tennis.
“Additionally, we would like to have a boxing ring to assist young persons to channel some of that aggression displayed by our young people today,” Blackett said, indicating that martial art training is also a possibility.
“On the outside, we propose to have road tennis courts and basketball/netball rings, and intend to start friendly sporting activities among neighbouring communities.”
A feature with a difference for this resource centre will be the inclusion of facilities for lawyers, medical practitioners, agriculturalists and social workers from various agencies to come and offer free advice and counselling to community members.