After months of preparation and three days of intense battle, the WorldSkills Barbados Competition 2012 climaxed with the crowning of five talented, young Barbadians earlier this month.
Tevin Callender, Danika Haynes, Sadé Atkins, Clesita Moore and Natasha Murrell captured gold in their respective categories of Automotive Technology, Beauty Therapy, Culinary Arts, Hairdressing and Fashion Technology.
The WorldSkills Barbados competition, which was organised by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, was held March 7 – 8th at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) and March 9, 2012, at the Barbados Community College's (BCC) Hospitality Training Institute, PomMarine Hotel. It is based on WorldSkills International, a global skills Olympics, which is held every two years in one of the 56-member countries. Barbados is the second English-speaking Caribbean country to become a member of WorldSkills International.
At the March 9th closing ceremony, amidst loud cheers from their peers, family members and tutors, the victorious students were each recognised for their outstanding display of skill, innovation and creativity which they exhibited during the inaugural competition.
Earning the highest score of the approximately 30 competitors was Clesita Moore of the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB). The 23-year old walked away with the top prize of Best Overall Competitor, first place in the Hairdressing category and the award for Best of Institution - BVTB.
She received a Scholarship valued at $1500 from the BVTB, a scholarship from the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme; a gift compliments Styles in Motion; a feature in the Styles in Motion magazine and two tickets to Harrison's Cave, in addition to her WorldSkills Barbados Gold medal and trophy.
Stating that she hoped to one day own a chain of salons, the former Garrison Secondary School student said, "My strategy going into the competition was to relax, stay focused and do my best."
During the competition, Clesita and her competitors demonstrated their skills in a number of specified areas in keeping with the WorldSkills International hairdressing standards. These included a Men's Classic Sculptured Cut With a Full Beard Design; a Fashion Cut and Permanent Wave for Men; a Long-Hair Creative Pin-Up Style with Colour, and a Lady's Fashion Haircut with Colour.
Admitting that she had some challenges with the "pin-up style", Clesita affirmed that she made up for any lost points in that test by striving for excellence in her execution of the others. She advised persons who wished to enter WorldSkills Barbados in 2014 to "practise, practise, practise, ask lots of questions and do your research."
Taking second place in the Hairdressing category was Akelia Chapman of the BVTB, while Kniaisia Burnett, a 19-year old student of the SJPP, took home the bronze.
The lone male winner in the competition was Tevin Callender of the SJPP. Easily securing first place in the Automotive Technology category, the 19-year old champion revealed, "I was in the trade long. I worked with my father from the time I was a little boy."
The former Lodge School student said the competition gave him the opportunity to practice completing work "within a certain amount of time". Now in his final year, he added, "I hope to get a job at Simpson Motors or one of the other companies when I leave SJPP." Tevin competed against his classmates Shakir Cox, who took home the silver, and Rosh Wilson, who placed third.
While the results of the beauty therapy category were being announced, Danika Haynes kept whispering to herself "please let me win, please let me win". Divulging that tears came to her eyes when she heard her name, the 19-year old SJPP student said she benefited tremendously by participating in the competition.
"I learnt time management and I now do the most important things first. My public speaking has improved and with all of the spectators watching, I conquered my nerves, kept focused and ignored the people around me," Danika revealed.
The aspiring spa owner said she was extremely excited to make use of her two-week internship at the Sandy Lane Spa. "It would give me more experience and should help me when I open my business." Kadesha Bradshaw placed second, while third-place went to Deneil Trotman.
Sade Atkins, a quiet 24-year old BVTB culinary arts student, was "shocked" by her win. Indicating that she sat for a little while after hearing her name, the Springer Memorial old scholar said, "It is a good feeling to know that you won, I have a passion for cooking and I guess that really helped me today."
Declaring she was proud that a BVTB student won, she explained that because of media exposure leading up to WorldSkills Barbados, "A lot of people were rooting for us; they wanted the BVTB to bring home the gold.
"I am happy for the opportunity and that I have won the year-long internship at the Crane, it should be interesting,” she noted, adding, "I really want to thank the public, the tutors and facilitators of the BVTB and my family for their support."
Taurean Grannum and Stefon Barker of the BCC's Hospitality Institute PomMarine Hotel won second and third place, respectively.
Natasha Murrell of the SJPP not only won first place in the Fashion Technology category of the WorldSkills Barbados Competition, but she also took home the award for Best of Institution - SJPP. Her classmate, Latoya Beckles placed second while BCC's Gaynelder Grazette took home the bronze medal. Gaynelder also won the Best of Institution Award - BCC. (BGIS)