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Bajan Youth Off To Abu Dhabi For TVET Forum

10/12/2017 09:44 AM
TVET Council Barbados Latest News
Akel Bailey and Keanndra Marshall, Barbados' delegates to the International TVET Youth Forum

Two young Barbadians left for Abu Dhabi yesterday Wednesday, October 11 to participate in the first ever International TVET Youth Forum being held during the international WorldSkills Competition taking place in the United Arab Emirates.

Akel Bailey and Keanndra Marshall were selected by the TVET Council, through a nomination process, to represent Barbados at the prestigious event which will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, from October 14 to 15. 

While there, they will meet with approximately 300 youth delegates from around the world to discuss specific global challenges related to technical and vocational education and training (TVET).  They will collectively write a Youth Declaration on the Future of Skills and TVET to be presented to high level policy makers.

Akel, who studied Automotive Engineering at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP), has a self-declared passion for TVET.  The former Harrison College student noted he was interested in participating in the Youth Forum because he wanted to “get the awareness out there that the majority of young people are looking for other avenues rather than pursing the mainstream professions.  They want to further themselves in a skill and make themselves more available for the market”, he pointed out.

The 24-year-old explained that part of the forum was conducted online from August to September, where participants were placed into groups or “think tanks”. His group was assigned the topic: How to Become a Global Citizen and how it Affects TVET and Skills Training.  When he reaches Abu Dhabi, his group will be tasked with proposing strategies to raise awareness about TVET worldwide. 

Akel also highlighted the fact that he was interested in skills development and the creation of opportunities as well as local skills accreditation.

“There are not enough opportunities, especially as it relates to scholarships, in the skills area.  I hope this exercise will raise the awareness and shine some light on SJPP when it comes to the development of the technical institute and the accreditation level of the technical institute.  I believe that by now SJPP should be offering courses at a degree level or at least an associate degree level because three years to complete an automotive course for a diploma is yesteryear,” Akel stressed.

Keanndra feels equally passionate about TVET as a discipline, in particular how to use skills to become an entrepreneur.   The 20-year-old part-time tattoo artist, who has a degree in Graphic Design and is currently studying Fashion Design at the Barbados Community College, has been assigned to the group examining Entrepreneurship.

Her group’s topic is How can we develop an entrepreneurial mindset? She explained they examined innovation and preparing young persons to become entrepreneurs. 

The former Lodge School student lamented the fact that entrepreneurship was not taught in Barbadian schools and that most people became entrepreneurs after working for another person which “does not work out”.  Her goal is to assist persons who want to leave school and become entrepreneurs.

“Our group discussed how this could be possible and there was a suggestion that countries should offer entrepreneurship in schools through a programme called Entrepreneurship 360.  This is basically teaching the teachers how to prepare students for entrepreneurship in the classroom,” she said. 

Keanndra also pointed out that her group shared “case studies” on successful entrepreneurs around the world and discussed the support skills and education that they would have needed to facilitate their success.  “The cases we discussed included Kgomotso Pooe, who started an outdoor adventure park in the township of Soweto, South Africa, as well as an entrepreneur from Barbados who started out by just printing documents with a simple computer and printer and who today employs a number of staff members to work in his printing business.  That business now prints shirts, banners, posters, tents and so on,” she clarified.  (PR/TVET Council Barbados)