For the first time in the three year history of the Youth in Agriculture Farm Programme, hosted by the Inter American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture, (IICA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, and The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, there were 31 agricultural science students, from 9 Secondary schools, who were awarded the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) in Amenity Horticulture Level 1.
As noted by Sen. Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development as she delivered Remarks at the third Closing Ceremony of the Youth In Agriculture Farm Programme, which was held recently at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the programme was growing and was indeed a success, as she lauded all those involved in its work.
“All of you sacrifice your time, you students in your summer vacation especially, you sacrifice that time to participate in this Youth in Agriculture Farming programme, gaining in the process the knowledgeable and the skills to enable you to become competent young farmers and entrepreneurs in agribusiness and the certification to prove it,” she noted.
To they youths she explained that certification was very important as it proved that they knew what they were doing in the field and could go anywhere in the Caribbean to work. She also noted that many of the participants were reaping more rewards after participating in the 8 weeks intensive programme, including job attachments and scholarships.
“This annual 8 weeks intensive training programme has from all reports already resulted in a successful start in life for our past graduates. Some of them I’m told have moved on to further their education and training, while others have been successful in finding meaningful jobs or becoming self employed, all desirable goals when youth unemployment is a major global concern,” she noted.
Continuing, she noted, “I’ve been informed that two of you have received scholarships to participate in the Caribbean Permaculture research Institute programme which is aimed at the development of sustainable and self sufficient agricultural ecosystem. These scholarships were of course rewarded as a result of the students interest in agriculture and their decision to volunteer at the research institute which is located here in Barbados. Such opportunities offer the tools for young people who are interested in careers in agriculture to become proficient.”