Barbados has introduced a junior component to the WorldSkills Competition, with the aim of developing the talent of skilled individuals here at a younger age.
The Barbados WorldSkills Junior competition, which kicked off on Tuesday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, saw the participation of 28 students from ten public and private secondary schools.
The enthusiastic teenagers are competing in the areas of electrical installation, cooking, hairdressing and cabinet making.
The contest will end on Thursday, and the winners and their schools will be presented with their prizes next week.
Chair of the Organizing Committee for WorldSkills Barbados Dario Walcott said when the Ministry of Education decided to introduce the junior competition the reception was “fantastic” and teachers and students were extremely enthusiastic.
“This really came out of Barbados’ experience at WorldSkills 2017 in Abu Dhabi. When we did our analysis on our performance at World Skills Abu Dhabi, we recognized that we needed to start earlier in terms of vocational training and vocational excellence with our young people. So we decided we had to go into the secondary schools and start at age 14 and 15,” explained Walcott.
“If we start in the secondary schools and we get them towards WorldSkills standard, what the world is doing, we would be able to prepare them for that level and then hopefully raise the level of our Technical Vocational and Education Training in Barbados.”
Walcott told Barbados TODAY that officials here are working with international partners and are in the process of deciding when another competition would come off locally, and when the juniors would be able to enter the international competitions.
He said while many more schools had entered the competition, the finalists from the ten schools were chosen after preliminary rounds in October.
Walcott said while he was not sure if the Barbados WorldSkills Junior would be a biennial competition, he was anticipating that when it was again held more skilled areas would be added, including that of information technology.
Barbados Community College (BCC) chef instructor Tremaine Reece was one of the judges on the first day of the competition. He told Barbados TODAY he was impressed with the skills of the young chefs.
“They are amazing for secondary school level,” he said.
“My major concerns would be the standards that they need to be at, because the world is evolving and they need to make sure they are on par with those outside of Barbados, but I am pretty pleased with their techniques and the skill sets given the level they are at right now. I think that is good for our secondary school level,” added Reece. [email protected]