What does the Skills for the Future Program do?

The Skills for the Future (SFTF) Programme first began in 2012, designed with the primary vision to enhance the skills of the workforce and support the Government’s Human Resource Development Strategy. In order to accomplish our goals, we take a solutions-oriented approach.

First, Skills for the Future focuses on improving the quality and relevance of courses taught at post-secondary and secondary institutions, as well as providing consistent investigation of the effectiveness of facilities available for learning; supporting upgrades and pedagogical training where necessary.

We pay close attention to a number of secondary schools, as well as technical and vocational institutions. The Skills for the Future Programme is also assisting development of standardised qualifications on both a national and regional level. These are known as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs).
Secondly, we encourage feedback from employers in many industries who can identify job gaps and skills in demand and use this data to inform student learning.

Finally, we provide direct, meaningful support to educational institutions in the areas of teacher training and grant applications. We recognise that our teachers and school instructors also need consistent development in order to empower students.

In short, our success with the programme defines the future success of the next and current generation of Barbadians. By developing the opportunities available to the youth as well as their ability to capitalise on those opportunities, we can make a big impact on the future!

The Skills for the Future Program is financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and by the Government of Barbados.

What are the objectives of the Skills for the Future Program?

Our program measures its success by three specific objectives:

  • To support implementation of a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) that incorporates the National Vocational Qualification/Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (NVQ/CVQs) and includes a new secondary education certificate. This new certificate is the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), which will be accessible to all graduates;
  • To improve core skills (i.e. English/Mathematics) and life skills at the secondary level and in TVET institutions and;
  • To support the labour market information system, employer surveys and various studies to provide feedback to the education and training institutions.

What does the Skills for the Future Programme do to accomplish its goals?

The Program is dedicated to achieving three main goals:

Goal 1: Support Employers

This component seeks to better align the supply of training with market demand, loan resources will be used to manage and operate a pilot competency-based training fund (CBTF) under the oversight of the Technical and Vocational, Education and Training Council (TVETC). A small team of consultants (Competency Based Training Fund) have been selected to operate the fund, and grants are awarded on a competitive basis to partnerships between private sector organisations and training institutions, who present valid and approved initiatives for funding.

We undertake surveys and data collection methods to identify skill gaps and occupational trends in hospitality, international business and financial services, manufacturing sub-sectors, and emerging industries.

We use this employer feedback to establish ways the existing secondary and post-secondary education framework can be improved.

Goal 2: Improve Secondary and Post-Secondary Education

We live in a dynamic world with technology and the workforce constantly changing. That’s why one of our main goals is to improve the quality and relevance of secondary and post-secondary education, so that upon graduation, students have the core and life skills needed to enter the labour market or continue studying if they desire.

There are many ways we do this, including:

School Improvement Grant Initiative: We’ve pinpointed twelve schools which have submitted proposals for an improvement grant that may be used to provide additional training, teaching assistance and pedagogical materials in the areas of numeracy, literacy and TVET training.

Support for improving teachers’ core skills: In addition to supporting school improvement, we recognise the importance of developing teachers. We also assist teacher training in core skills such as research methods, new pedagogical approaches to teaching core skills, and remedial education. Principals and Heads of Departments are expected to be trained in the aforementioned areas.

Literacy and Numeracy: The objective of this consultancy is to train selected teachers in the methodologies, strategies, and corresponding intellectual best practices needed to deliver instruction to students who present literacy and numeracy challenges.

A Ganar Pilot Program: Currently in sixteen (16) countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, the A Ganar program uses a sports based methodology to train selected students from chosen schools in core life skills as well as provide market-driven technical and vocational training. The intention was to create an environment that allowed these at risk youth the opportunity to make good on their potential and chances at a meaningful future.

This program is currently being implemented in nine (9) SFTF secondary schools, as well as in the Barbados Vocational Training Board, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, and the Government Industrial School. So far, we’ve seen it make a great impact.

The institutions we have chosen to focus on are:

Secondary Schools

1. Princess Margaret Secondary School
2. St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School
3. Frederick Smith Secondary School
4. Grantley Adams Memorial School
5. Deighton Griffith Secondary School
6. Parkinson Memorial Secondary School
7. Ellerslie Secondary School
8. St. George Secondary School
9. Graydon Sealy Secondary School
10. Lester Vaughn Secondary School
11. Daryll Jordan Secondary School

Post-Secondary Institutions

1. Barbados Community College
2. Barbados Vocational Training Board
3. Erdiston Teachers’ Training College
4. Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology

Goal 3: Strengthen our educational institutions

We seek to support the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Labour, Human Resource Development and Social Policy, and the Erdiston Teacher Trainer’s College in the following areas:
Business Plan Development: Development and subsequent implementation of institutional business plans for post-secondary institutions containing the needed steps involved in achieving accreditation from the Barbados Accreditation Council. This sub-component will also involve the improvement and repair of the physical infrastructure of selected post-secondary institutions through the procurement of relevant goods and the execution of various civil works.

Leadership Training and Capacity Building: the program will offer leadership training to principals of the twelve aforementioned secondary schools as well as post-secondary institutions in change management, new program planning and competency based program development concepts, environmental sustainability for institutional efficiency and HR re-training and planning.

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