Competency-based Training Fund (CBTF) Projects receive $1.5 million injection in grant funding
Seven training projects, designed to better equip 800 Barbadian workers with the skills and competencies they need to excel, are now underway. The Competency-based Training Fund (CBTF) has disbursed the first injection of $1.5 million in grant funding to its first round awardees.
This funding represents a significant 40% of the total awarded to seven winning partnerships across a range of sectors including the creative industries, financial services, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, tourism and hospitality, and the maritime industry.
Among the winning partnerships is that of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) and the Potter Centre. Training for their Leadership 21 programme started in early October with the first two of 12 cohorts. The programme will see 300 supervisory and management employees across the tourism and hospitality sector receive training leading to the Level 3 Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) in Management. The partnership’s initial disbursement is being used for the training and summative assessment of candidates, buying equipment, and training and certifying assessors.
Feedback from participants, said Toney Olton, Principal Consultant, the Potter Centre, has been “extremely positive“. Mr. Olton added that the vision for the training is for the tourism sector to better position itself for improvements in effective leadership and management.
“We want to realise a significant improvement of the service experience among the properties/companies whose managers and supervisors participate in the CVQ programme. Leadership is the overarching factor critical to workplace performance and so our programme is designed to equip managers and supervisors with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for leading the 21st century worker and sustaining his or her engagement on the job,” he explained.
The CBTF is a joint initiative of the Government of Barbados and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) awarding $13 million over three years to training projects from partnerships of training providers and employers which equip employees and potential employees with the practical skills, not just theoretical knowledge, they need to function and excel in an increasingly competitive world.
Paul Murphy, Programme Director, Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (METI) said that the Ministry was “totally elated” with the response to the fund and that projects were getting underway. “We spent many months conceptualising the Competency-Based Training Fund and we weren’t sure of the extent to which the private sector and training partners would buy in. It’s turned out to be the flagship component of the Skills for the Future programme.”
Mr. Murphy added that the IDB was also pleased with the response: “I spoke with the team leader of the IDB in Washington and she’s ecstatic with the response and thinks that among the first cycle of winners there’s a good mix of emerging, traditional and hospitality sectors. All around, at the Ministry of Education and at the IDB, we’re extremely pleased at how the first cycle has gone.”
Describing some of the measures in place to ensure transparency in the use of the funding for the training projects, the Programme Director said that monthly and quarterly reports are to be submitted to the CBTF Management Unit (CMU) by the partnerships.
“There’s a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer (MEO) in place at the CMU who will visit partnerships to ensure that training is being executed as identified in the proposals; that equipment is used for the purposes for which it was purchased; that minor civil works associated with the projects are done in accordance with the proposals submitted and are used for training. In addition, the Senior Project Analyst in the Ministry’s Project Coordinating Unit will work with the MEO to monitor the rate of execution on the projects.”
Second round submissions surpass first round
With the projects from the first round underway, applications to the second round of funding have surpassed those of the first round.
Thirty-nine proposals were received in the second call for proposals which ended on September 30, compared to the 33 received in the first cycle which ended on May 23 this year. This latest set of proposals represents a diverse range of emerging and priority sectors including renewable energy, hospitality, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, creative industries, healthcare and services.
Of the 39 proposals received, 30 met the eligibility criteria and were reviewed by the Technical Review and Selection Committee (TRSC) coordinated CMU. Following this the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council will make an initial ratification which will be followed by review and final approval by the Ministry of Education and the IDB.
Manager of the CMU, Anderson Lowe, expressed pleasure at the number of submissions received in the second round of applications. “We were encouraged by the response to the first cycle and so you can imagine that we were tremendously excited that the number of applications received this time has exceeded that submitted in the first round. This is testament to the fact that interest in the fund and in the opportunities it presents continues to build. We’re anticipating great and sustainable results across the Barbadian workforce, companies and the economy as a result,” he said.
The third round of funding will open next year on February 6. Further information is available on the CBTF’s website at www.cbtf.com.bb.