The Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) is now a regionally accepted certification thanks to the work of the CARICOM Education for Employment (C-EFE) Programme facilitated by the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).
For the past eight years, the CAD $19 million programme sought to increase the quality of skilled based education in 12 CARICOM countries including Barbados. One of its proudest achievements is the recognition of the skills and competency based CVQ conceptualized by the Caribbean Association of National Training Authorities (CANTA).
Immediate Past Chairman of CANTA Wayne Wesley expressed his pleasure with the programme that has increased human capacity development in the region, by making persons more competent. The CVQ has expanded with up to levels three and four being offered in certain disciplines at secondary and tertiary institutions. The addition of personnel such as assessors and verifiers has increased the reach of the qualification. Initially, Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica were “the big three” that accepted the CVQ and this has now expanded to seven CARICOM countries.
The CVQ is also a pillar for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) as it allows people with the certification to move between islands in the region. Wesley said, “This partnership has certainly brought us closer together as a region, the various training agencies who seemingly were operating just within their own national sphere [have begun] to understand the importance of regional integration and collaboration.”
The programme, also geared towards revamping regional Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) councils, has successfully built a stronger network. Canadian High Commissioner to Barbados and the OECS Her Excellency Marie Legault stressed the importance of TVET which prompted Canada to invest in the Caribbean.
C-EFE saw more than 2, 700 students enrolled in 23 new or renewed TVET programmes within focal sectors such as aircraft maintenance, mining and renewable energy, automotive electronics and the cultural and creative industries. With sustainability as the main goal, Legault assured that though the project is approaching completion, Canada will continue to invest in TVET in the Caribbean.
In Barbados, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology partnered with Sault College in Canada specifically for a renewable energy and energy conservation programme involving solar panels and wind turbines. Over 90 students took part in the courses and 18 faculty members received training in renewable energy. Sault College will now offer two scholarships to Barbadians each year. (KW)