The Barbados Accreditation Council has upgraded its application process so that more Artistes now have the opportunity to successfully apply for the Certificate of Recognition of CARICOM Skills Qualification. In this latest development, the Council has partnered with the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) to allow for Artistes who do not have sufficient formal documentation, to be assessed by an invigilator who will determine their competency.
The Certificate of Recognition of CARICOM Skills Qualification, also known as the CSME Skills Certificate or CARICOM Skills Certificate, allows Skilled Nationals of CARICOM member states to move and work freely within any of the thirteen (13) qualifying member states. This is made possible through the Caribbean Community (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act that allows these freedoms without the need for a work permit nor a permit of stay. The twelve (12) categories of eligibility for CARICOM Skilled Nationals include University Graduates, Media Workers, Sports Persons, Musicians, Artisans, Nurses, Teachers, Artistes, Holders of Associate Degrees or Comparable Qualifications, Agricultural Workers, Household Domestics and Security Guards.
Executive Director of the Barbados Accreditation Council, Mrs. Lisa Gale provided the rationale behind these assessments. “We sought to augment the application process as Barbados has not yet fully developed its National Qualifications Framework. This framework will recognize all learning acquired by nationals regardless of whether it was gained through formal means such as training institutions, or non-formal avenues such as activities, work experience or service organisations that may not lead to a qualification or certification. This Framework includes Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) in which years of experience can be examined and recognized, in the absence of a formal qualification. In the interim, we have requested the assistance of the SJPI, who willingly agreed to carry out assessments of applicants’ skill sets, to allow even more Artistes to meet the eligibility requirements necessary to be classified as a CARICOM Skilled National.”
Each category has specific documentation requirements – however, with Artistes, they may need to be assessed differently. “Within the category of Artiste, the challenge is that due to the nature of their work, many Artistes who are accomplished in their field, may need the visual confirmation afforded by an assessment in order to determine and verify their true competency.” The Executive Director went on to say, “Where certificates may not be verified, these assessments will augur well for CARICOM nationals to complete the application process.” Assessments falling under the Artiste category include Nail Technicians, Barbers, Cosmetologists, Make-up Artistes among others.
Principal of the SJPI, Mr. Ian Drakes, noted that they ensured the assessments would not be “tedious”, lasting a maximum of 3 hours. Once the candidate can exhibit their necessary skills for certification, the Institute will work to ensure the process is completed smoothly and timely. These assessments may also be done online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Drakes is motivated to assist Barbados in meeting the goals highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goals presented at the 2015 United Nations General Assembly, “as more individuals are provided the chance to be innovators, and the margin for the job market in the island increases placing less strain on the Social Welfare systems.”
Since the commencement of her tenure as Executive Director, Mrs. Gale oversaw the final stages of implementing the two newest categories, Agricultural Worker and Security Guard, which have been added, providing even greater opportunities to as many Skilled Nationals as possible. With the addition of these assessments, the Executive Director believes that they will serve a similar purpose for more inclusion and opening opportunities for more of the region’s Skilled Nationals.