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Barbados Gets Onto World Stage on First Attempt

12/20/2012 07:48 AM
TVET Council Barbados Latest News
Akeila Chapman embraced her aunt (left) and her mother (right) after the ceremony, she insisted they were two of her biggest supporters. (C.Henry/BGIS)

Barbados was successful on its first attempt at getting onto the global stage of technical and vocational skills when the island participated in the Worldskills Americas competition, which was held in Brazil recently.

This observation was made by Executive Director of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, Henderson Eastmond, last  Monday, December 17, at the celebratory function for Worldskills Americas Silver Medallist, Akeila Chapman.

In Congratulating Ms. Chapman on gaining a Silver Medal in the Ladies and Men's Hairdressing category of the Worldskills Americas competition, he said that her win demonstrated that Barbados had human resource capacity that must be explored.

Akeila Chapman was Barbados' sole representative at the Worldskills Americas Competition which took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  While the host country, Brazil won gold in the Hairdressing category with 551 points, Ms. Chapman placed second with 493 points.  She also won Best of the Nation award and beat competing nations Guatemala, Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

Mr. Eastmond added that he was "particularly proud" that the TVET Council had decided to launch the Worldskills Barbados competition earlier this year, but confessed that his organisation was "shooting in the dark."

He said that the local competition challenged young people, their teachers, trainers and employers to achieve world class standards, in addition to preparing participants for the global stage. 

The Executive Director continued: "We were aiming to have our people on the world stage and on the first go we have our people on the world stage... We went [to Brazil], with much support from the Ministry and the Barbados Vocational Training Board, and little did we know that we would bring back a silver medal."

Stressing that work for Worldskills Barbados 2014 would begin early next year; he said the TVET Council would be seeking sponsorship.  He underscored that the TVET Council was also looking to train personnel in the private sector.  "I specially mentioned the private sector because they will benefit from our trainees and we want the Worldskills Barbados to be bigger and better."

Explaining that this country was currently an associate member of Worldskills International, Mr. Eastmond noted, "our plan is to build ourselves at Worldskills Americas, broaden the competition to a lot of other areas... areas that will be critical to the development of our economy, such as agriculture, manufacturing and alternative energy". 

The Worldskills Barbados and Worldskills Americas are based on the Worldskills International Competition, a "global skills" Olympics.  The contests provide persons between the ages of 16 and 22 with an opportunity to compete and demonstrate their skills.  Fifty-five member countries participate in the latter contest which takes place every two years.