Young people will soon have the opportunity to learn 3D digital game art, drone technology and several other skills as the TVET Council (TVETC) hosts the first WorldSkills Barbados Juniors Future Skills Camp, later this year.
And the council revealed plans to introduce an Associate Degree in Manufacturing Technology as part of a bid to ramp up high-tech job skills while service industries like tourism take a beating from the slowdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
This camp, to be supported by WorldSkills Russia, was announced Friday by TVETC Executive Director Henderson Eastmond during a virtual signing of a memorandum between the council and Worldskills Russia.
Among the other skills to be offered are building information modelling and mobile app development, the TVET official said.
Eastmond said the importance of a workforce possessing technical skills was highlighted since the pandemic began, when much of the tourism and entertainment industries ground to a halt, while manufacturing, which lacked development for many years, could not leverage the technology to produce more goods.
“Right now we are standing on no legs,” said Eastmond. “Tourism is down, our manufacturing, our agricultural sectors and other sectors that we did not pay attention to over the years, we now have to develop those skills. Our collaboration with Russia in this Future Skills Camp is one of the stages because this is basic, the 3D digital game art, the aerial robotics, is basic, whet persons’ appetite for what is to come.
“Right now in the background, we are developing several technical associate degrees programmes for the country, to collaborate with the institutions here at the TVET Council. We are developing animation and art, game programming and game designing [at] the start.”
The council is in talks with the Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC) and the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) in order to assist them in training their members in more advanced skillsets, with the hope of introducing an Associate Degree in Manufacturing Technology in the next two years, said Eastmond.
He added: “We want to create a first-class workforce that our people can work in other sectors and bring money down to the economy. WorldSkills is just another part where we can get skills coming into the country to help our people develop.
“We would like to launch [the new associate degrees] next year September… [that] would depend on resources. But definitely by 2023, the game will be on.”
The five-day camp is aimed at students between the ages of 14 and 18 as an alternative to the second biennial WorldSkills Barbados Juniors Competition that was scheduled to take place in November but has been postponed due to the pandemic.
Lead Officer for the WorldSkills Barbados Programme Dario Walcott said that young persons who sign up for this new programme, will also have an opportunity to gain a new skills ‘passport’ that will aid them in taking their newly gained job skills to other overseas markets.
“By the end of the camp, they will receive a skills passport. This passport is an initiative from Worldskills Russia, which actually outlines at the end of the day what a participant can do in relation to the standard. Here in Barbados, we would offer our Caribbean vocational qualifications and you would have a statement of competence, [we are working] to have this skills passport repeated around the world, where you leave Barbados [it] would tell persons what you can do in 3D digital game art, building informational modelling, against the occupational standards.”
The camp runs from September 6 to 10 and will be done fully online with classes running from 9 am to 1 pm, with 100 spots available at a cost of $100 per participant.