Barbadian businesses urged to take advantage of $10 million in funds to transform their workforce

On the heels of $3.6 million in grant funding being awarded to seven training projects designed to transform the Barbadian workforce and make businesses more competitive, the Competency-Based Training Fund (CBTF) is encouraging training institutions and employers to take advantage of the second round of funding which opens, tomorrow Friday, August 15.

Dr Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development

Dr Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development

This second Call for Proposals follows a series of information workshops held earlier this week to assist training providers and employers interested in applying to the fund, increase their understanding of competency-based training and occupational standards, as well as better equip them to develop and submit proposals which meet the evaluation criteria.

Almost $10 million is still available through the CBTF for training projects for employees and potential employees which are focused on equipping them to demonstrate practical skills, not merely theoretical knowledge, needed to make industries and the economy more competitive.

Training Providers – Know partner companies intimately

Not one, but two of the seven successful proposals from the first round were submitted by the Barbados Institute of Management of Productivity (BIMAP) in conjunction with animation studios, West Toonz Inc.; and insurance provider, Guardian General Insurance. Director of Training at BIMAP, Stephen Savoury, urged training institutions to develop an intimate understanding of the training needs of the companies they seek to partner with. “Training providers need to know as much as possible about the organization and they should work with them to understand their long-term goals so that proposals submitted are strategic and sustainable.”

With regard to the intended outcomes of successful projects receiving funds, Mr. Savoury said the CBTF allows employers to look at the big picture, now and into the future, and move their companies forward. “Being able to access 100% funding for those training initiatives will help to better position them for greater competitive advantage in the markets that they serve.”

The BIMAP executive also encouraged training institutions to apply to the second Call for Proposals which ends on September 30. “The CBTF is seeking (to contribute to) the national good and as training institutions it’s a great opportunity which I suggest you use wisely.”

Minister of Labour, Dr Esther Byer Suckoo presents Owner of Nature Care, Russell Corrie with a proposal pack for application to the Competency-Based Training Fund while manager of the fund, Anderson Lowe (right) and Consultant, Asymetrix (which is partnering with Nature Care) Dr. Richard Graham look on.

Minister of Labour, Dr Esther Byer Suckoo presents Owner of Nature Care, Russell Corrie with a proposal pack for application to the Competency-Based Training Fund while manager of the fund, Anderson Lowe (right) and Consultant, Asymetrix (which is partnering with Nature Care) Dr. Richard Graham look on.

With an overwhelming encouraging response to the first round, the other successful partnerships are: Intimate Hotels/Career Development Institute; Barbados Port Inc./Caribbean Maritime Institute; AC Manufacturing/Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic; Barbados Youth Business Trust/CILC Action Coach and The Potter Centre/Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.

Making Barbados more competitive

Speaking to the long-term benefits of the training that the CBTF will fund, Manager of the CBTF Management Unit, Anderson Lowe said, “The overall vision is to raise the level of training in the workforce and to improve the level of certification thereby making us more competitive so we can go out and offer services that are world class. We’re looking for an all-round increase in the level of productivity and the sustainability component of the fund is to ensure that programmes continue to develop Barbados into the foreseeable future.”

Proposals that comply with three criteria will be reviewed and ranked by the CBTF’s Technical Reviewing and Selection Committee: (1) those submitted by a partnership of at least one private employer and one training provider; (2) where the training to be provided is based on competency-based occupational standards; and (3) where the training leads to certification by a recognised awarding body.”

Proposals that do not meet the criteria will be sent back to the partners with comments. Those partnerships will also be invited to resubmit their proposals in latter cycles.

Anderson Lowe, Manager, Competency-Based Training Fund Management Unit

Anderson Lowe, Manager: Competency-Based Training Fund Management Unit

Additional criteria, though not necessary for eligibility, will be used to prioritise the selection of proposals. These criteria are: the number of workers to be trained under the proposal exceeds those working in the employer’s business; the participation of sector associations and the merging of firms in partnership with the training provider; and a clear strategy of sustainability after the CBTF funding period. All details are available on the fund’s website, www.cbtf.com.bb, or by calling the CBTF office at (246) 227-9090.

Mr. Lowe said that in the Call for Proposals phase potential applicants would receive key information on how to apply, when, and where to get relevant information. “We also want to give every employer and every training provider, whether large or small, an equal opportunity to participate in the fund. It’s for everyone. We were very pleased with the response to the first round and we’re looking to see the momentum build further in this round and to receive some strategic and high-quality proposals.”

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