Information Workshops Targeting Employers and Training Providers

Over 100 employers and training providers to receive guidance on applying to million dollar training fund at workshops this week 

Bridgetown, Barbados, March 31, 2014 – Over 100 employers and training providers are expected to take a step closer to submitting proposals to access funding from a $13 million training grant. The Competency-Based Training Fund, Government of Barbados/ Inter-American Development bank initiative, has been established specifically to better equip the Barbadian workforce with the skills and competencies they need to excel in the 21st century market place. Today a series of workshops designed to provide guidance on the submission process for the Competency-Based Training Fund (CBTF) was launched at Accra Beach Hotel & Spa.

The Competency-Based Training Fund Information Workshops are designed to raise awareness of and interest in applying to the fund. The half-day sessions will provide interested employers and training providers with details on submitting viable proposals, as well as eligibility and evaluation criteria. Another key component of the workshops is an opportunity for employers and training providers to network with each other, since funding will be awarded to partnerships between employers and training providers.

The opening remarks were delivered by Senator Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development. Describing the benefits of the fund as “enormous” Dr. Suckoo said that, “Successful implementation of the CBTF can help businesses and Barbados become more competitive nationally, regionally and internationally with the fund helping business to improve employees’ performance.” The Minister added that the fund also sought to align training to the needs of the market thereby improving the performance of businesses and the wider economy, and that it provided opportunities for employers and training providers to create new, sustainable business opportunities across their sectors.

The Labour Minister concluded her remarks by saying that the fund was an “excellent and timely opportunity” of which employers and businesses should take advantage. “Opportunities such as this one are few and far between in this current economic environment. The time to act, therefore, is now.” 

Today’s workshop focused on the Hospitality and Tourism, as well as the Health and Wellness sectors. One of the presenters, Commercial Director at the Crane Resorts, Michael Phillips, spoke to participants on the benefits of competency-based training.  “At the Crane we’ve long recognised the importance of competency-based training and we think that it has underpinned our continued competitiveness and the fact that we’ve been able to establish ourselves as a luxury brand.” 

Industry partners encouraged to consider competency-based training

Mr. Phillips went on to encourage participants to apply to the Fund. “There is certainly room for academic degrees but in the end, at all the various levels, we want to encourage all of the industry partners to seriously consider competency-based training. And the fact that there are funds available to make that happen should provide sufficient incentive for us to seriously consider this approach.” 

Presentations were also made by Arleen Murrell-Crichlow and Daniel Best, Technical Officers, TVET Council; Valda Alleyne, Executive Director, Barbados Accreditation Council; Andrea Austin, Liaison Officer, CBTF Management Unit; and Leanne Cumberbatch, Operations senior Associate, Interamerican Development Bank. 

The remainder of the workshops, which run until Thursday April 3, will focus on various sectors including Energy, Finance and Technology, Agriculture, Construction, Manufacturing Creative, Retail and Emerging sectors. 

The information workshops will be followed by a formal Call for Proposals which begins on April 11 and runs until May 23. Thereafter, the first round of funding will be disbursed to the successful employer/training provider partnerships from August 2014. Each successful project can receive up to $800,000 in funding for competency-based training programmes up to 2 years in duration that lead to certification. 

Fund to disburse $13 million over three years

A key component of the government’s Skills for the Future education and labour initiative, the CBTF will disburse $13 million over a three-year period to employer and training provider partnerships to implement competency-based training programmes leading to National and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications. The Fund is being administered in cooperation with the TVET Council.   

A key goal of the fund is for the supply of technical and vocational training to become more aligned with market demand based on training gaps identified by employers. With a more certified workforce it is expected that Barbados would be able to position itself more competitively on a regional and global scale.

Other potential benefits of the fund include fostering mutually beneficial relationships between the private sector and training institutions, and dispelling the perception of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as being suitable for a certain subset of the workforce.

With regards to the eligibility of employers applying to the fund, they must be locally registered or incorporated for at least two years. There are also opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs to unify their efforts to submit a joint proposal with a training provider. 

Local training providers can be public or private, should be compliant with the NIS and be operating for at least two years. There is also scope for employers to partner with regional or international training providers. Further information on the Fund is available through the website - 

Competency-based training is a learning system which considers learners competent in an occupational area based on their demonstration of mastery skills, knowledge and attitudes. This is its key difference to traditional education which relies on acquiring content-based knowledge alone.