Include the jobless

Training fund officials want unemployed to be given a chance

Potential beneficiaries of the third cycle of the Competency-Based Training Fund (CBTF) are being urged to include unemployed individuals in their plans.

Additionally, officials involved in the programme are calling on the training institutions and corporate entities that form partnerships to continue those relationships after the Skills for the Future programme, which aims to better align the supply of training with market demands, ends in 2016.

The calls came during the official announcement of the third call for proposals under the CBTF at the Accra Beach Hotel last evening. The call for proposals for the third cycle opened yesterday and will close at 4:30 p.m. on March 31.

Monitoring and evaluation officer at the CBTF Lisa Fenty
Monitoring and evaluation officer at the CBTF Lisa Fenty

Monitoring and evaluation officer at the CBTF Lisa Fenty expressed hope that the programme would help to reduce the 13.2 per cent unemployment rate.

“We would like to encourage perspective partnerships applying to the fund to include unemployed persons as a subset of the candidates to be trained, providing these individuals with the skills required to help them successfully re-enter the workforce,” said Fenty, adding that the unemployment figures were a clear sign of the dire economic conditions here.

She said the proposals put forward for cycle one and two were of “high quality” and they expected the same for this cycle.

Addressing the gathering, acting programme director of the Skills for the Future programme Junior Burgess said he believed the future of technical training in Barbados was “bright”, given the advancements so far.

Urging individuals to get their proposals in early in order to meet the end of March deadline, Burgess also called on Barbadians to see technical studies as being just as important as academic studies.

He said while the programme will come to an end next year, he hoped the momentum in technical training would continue long after.

Meanwhile, acting executive director of the TVET Council Wendy McClean said since the introduction of the CBTF programme, the qualifications agency had to develop new occupational standards and National Vocational Qualifications for training and certification in about six new areas for cycle one.

She said they were currently working on an additional six new areas for cycle two.

“We are pleased that so many proposals have been received in response to previous CBTF calls for proposals. However, we wish to see the collaboration of partnerships continue long after this programme and this level of funding has ended in 2016 because it makes good sense,” said McClean.

“In countries where economies are supported by robust training systems, partnerships between employers and training providers are central to their success. In these countries, employers anticipate what skills will be needed and they make this information known. They provide input into training services and curricula [and] they provide job attachments and make equipment and machinery available to schools to give students access to modern technologies. Training institutions do their part as well,” said McClean.

A total of about $7.5 million was awarded to 12 partnerships under cycle two of the CBTF’s call for proposals, which closed on September 30 last year.

Delivering remarks at the cocktail reception for the announcement of the cycle two awardees recently, Minister of Labour and Human Resource Development Dr Esther Byer said the impact of the CBTF and its partnerships with training institutions were being felt by employer representatives.

“Just as importantly, the impact is being felt through the continuing professional development of educators and trainers by way of exposure to the competency-based training and assessment methodology,” she said.

To date, the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council has facilitated the training of approximately 238 persons in how to deliver competence-based education and training.

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