Training solutions. Again

technical competencyThere are many “training” solutions that have been announced during the current retrenchment exercise.  Some of these announcements seem to be “soothers” designed to comfort those who ask about the plight of those found without jobs or skills. There is a published account of a terminated worker, when told to sign up for training, said; “I don’t want training. I can’t buy bread with that”.

This is an example of why I am called to caution against falling into the “training trap”. This occurs when training is being applied for cosmetic or justification purposes. For instance, there are many funding agencies and private sector organizations that require a specific number of training hours be provided to a specific set of people, covering prescribed topics. The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) “the world’s largest professional association dedicated to the training and development field”, has a motto saying: “Telling ain’t training”. This is important because the majority of events characterized as training, feature covering the information as the primary approach. This has been proven to be a waste of time, money and morale.

In the past few years, Barbados’ TVET Council has recognized this discrepancy and introduced its Competency-based Training approach in conjunction with Barbados Community College. This is primarily because of pressure to “prove that workers are competent to do their jobs”. Forty-eight National and Regional Vocational Qualification (NVQ/CVQ) have been validated, with curricula to “demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes are certified as competent.” I hold a certificate in this programme.

Clearly, this is important work and represents progress from previous approaches. It reinforces the need for demonstrable skills and the fact that working toward standards increases employability. The Inter-American Bank has founded TVET’s “Skills for the Future” programme, which can be credited with producing 15 medallists in The Barbados WorldSkills 2014 competition. TVET and its programmes have the participation of Barbados’ colleges, BIMAP and supports the Barbados Human Resources Development Strategy.

TVET also administers the Training and Employment Fund (ETF). “ETF’s primary focus is to provide grants to encourage the private sector to expand and upgrade its employee training programmes.” This funds are extracted from employer contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). I also have first-hand experience working with clients who have accessed ETF and have provided training under its terms of reference.  The fund has trained 37,411 since March 1997.

With due respect for these efforts and accomplishments, there is still much needed to obtain traction and sustainability. The ASTD Competencies for Training and Development Professionals and its Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification, represent global best practice. Barbados can benefit greatly from using these as benchmarks.

For example, approved trainers for ETF programmes must be vetted by the Barbados Accreditation Council, who certainly aren’t equipped to measure according to global standards and best practice. When you look at the training approaches of government agencies, academic institutions and public purveyors of training; competency in these essential areas is not apparent. TVET’s own mandate is compromised by the fact that its criteria for employer participation preclude the training of an organization’s executives and managers to support the skills that have been taught. “You can’t take one piano lesson and play Carnegie Hall”.

If skills are not nurtured and supported, they will become extinct.

God bless.

Some thoughts about performance

performanceFree association is a technique that I frequently use when teaching about communications. In an exercise, I ask members of a diverse group to write down, without censorship, everything that comes to mind when they see or hear a particular word. Today, that word is Continue reading

Nation-building

barbados map flagThe purpose of nation-building is to: “inculcate a feeling of belonging and with it, accountability and responsible behaviour.” (National Planning Commission, Republic of South Africa). At the time this statement was fashioned, Nelson Mandela held the reins of government. South Africa was returning from an abyss of deadly strife and everyone had apprehensions about the future.

While none would claim a perfect outcome, there is no denying that the declaration of intent made a positive impact on South Africa and the world. A key point of emphasis is Continue reading

The gift of gratitude

 gratitude 2As I write this article, Valentine’s Day is on the horizon. It signals a time to pause and reflect on the need to express love and think about those, who to us, deserve our love. It is an act of gratitude. Never mind the fact that it has become commercialized and there are some prescribed rituals, which if not displayed, can cause disappointment.

In Barbados, there is a pall cast upon this commemoration because of widespread concern about the effects of Continue reading

We can do it!

we can make itUnited States President, Barack Obama is well-known as an inspirational speaker and leader. His State of the Union message, delivered on January 28th, received global media coverage. The consensus is that this was another inspirational tour de force, not just for Americans but many others who have been undergoing hard times.

It doesn’t matter that there are differences about the policies, programmes and political agenda; at one point or another, your heart was stirred Continue reading

Counting our assets

think outside the boxLast week, I was the guest speaker at a Power Breakfast event in Newark, New Jersey. This series attracts executives, business owners, legislators, educators and other professionals in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. areas. Continue reading

Vulgarity at the core

corrupthear-no-evil_see-rudy-life-blogspot.com_I have had some very interesting conversations with a diverse group of people regarding what is most needed to restore Barbados to its former economic and social dynamism. Interesting, because many telling points emerged despite the fact that the insights came from parties who were of diverse socio-economic and political perspectives.

I am very saddened by the continued politicization of Barbados’ Continue reading

Where is this going?

where is this goingAs a child, I remember that I was frequently asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up”? I have asked that question to children and adults many times over the years. I suspect you would have had a similar experience. You would also have found that, over time, the answers that you gave to this question tended to change. Continue reading

Preparing for change

preparing for changeAs the year closes, many people are talking about change. Not just the normal “new year resolutions” that tend to be a review of what remains from last year’s promises but changes that are being imposed. In Barbados, there is a growing group of persons who fall into this category. Beyond those in the public service who are on notice of job reductions, there is the ripple effect that occurs when money stops circulating. Continue reading