As new technology continues to influence the way we go about our everyday activities, Barbados’ premier technical and vocational training institution is predicting exciting times ahead as it strives to ensure that Barbadians are fully prepared to embrace the opportunities it will present.
Speaking at the launch of an art exhibition featuring the work of the students at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) at the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle at the Tom Adams Financial Centre on Tuesday night, principal Ian Drakes said: “We are in the business of human resources, and through this exhibition our students are showing us what is possible, as we prepare them for the world of work or to become entrepreneurs”.
Drakes said presently the students were on their semester break, and the SJPI would be using that time to train its teachers in new fields of endeavour. “This week, we will be training our faculty in drone manufacturing and operation, as well as on hybrid and electric vehicles. Our instructors will also undergo literacy and numeracy training.”
The principal also revealed that the SJPI would shortly be introducing 3D printing and 3D garment body scanning machines. The theme of the anniversary celebrations is “Celebrating our Past, Inspiring our Future.”
Meanwhile, as he delivered the feature address, general manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, Sherwood McCaskie, traced the history of the SJPI from its inception, saying that it was established in the 1960s because stakeholders in the education sector saw a need for increased levels of technical and vocational training that the then existing institutions could not have managed.
“Those stakeholders commissioned a draft manpower survey that estimated that by 1975 Barbados would need well over 3,000 building trade workers; 1,000 in non-construction, 1,000 mechanics and 1,300 skilled hotel workers. The research also showed that the institutions in existence then did not have the capacity to train this high number of people, so in 1963 Government set up a committee to look at training and to see about establishing a technical training school.” The Technical Institute, which later became known as the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, was officially opened in November 1969, with its main building at University Row in Bridgetown, and other branches at Richmond Gap and Grazettes Industrial Park.
McCaskie noted that there were many aspects of our everyday life we took for granted that the SJPI through its technical and vocational training had made possible. “When we go home and open our doors, turn on the lights, turn on our taps to wash our hands, we can thank the students of the SJPI for making that possible.”
The art exhibition, entitled “Art Meets Industry”, ends tomorrow.