World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2013-05-23

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET mission

It is the overall objective of the National Policy to create a national system of training which facilitates a sustainable, appropriately trained, productive and flexible labour force that responds readily to changes in trends in industry and to the forces of liberalization and globalization. In order to achieve this objective, more precise objectives must be pursued through the implementation of a set of comprehensive, coherent and flexible policies.

TVET strategy

The TVET policies have the following objectives:

  • To establish a coherent and flexible framework of competency-based qualifications in order to promote high standards of achievement throughout the TVET system;
  • To increase the number of persons pursuing vocational education and training as a career;
  • To achieve cost-effectiveness, efficiency and student satisfaction by reducing repetitions and duplication of training activities;
  • To improve the quality of training;
  • To align TVET decisions with opportunities generated by economic development;
  • To create an enabling environment that is conducive to life-long learning;
  • To create a system of planning and development for TVET;
  • To make better use of available resources (coordination of TVET);
  • To reduce skill mismatches within the TVET system; and
  • To create a culture of entrepreneurship.
TVET legislation

The main legislative acts regulating the TVET system in Barbados include:

  • TVET Council Act Cap 1993-11
  • Education Acts 1850, 1890, 1981
  • The Occupational Training Act Cap 1979-42
  • Barbados Accreditation Council Act 2004-11

  • TVET Council (2003). Investing in our future. A National Policy Framework for TVET in Barbados. Hastings: TVET Council.
  • Webpage of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council Barbados.

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    2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Barbados. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

Formal TVET system

Barbados has a network of schools for all levels of ability, and achieves almost 100% attendance by young people of secondary age. There is a range of public and private technical and vocational education and training providers, and the University of the West Indies plays a significant role in the island’s development.

At present technical and vocational education occurs at all levels in the educational system.

At the primary level TVET subjects are used as one of the means of delivering the general aims of education and in facilitating the acquisition of core skill. The primary schools are not concerned with the delivery of occupational skills to any degree.

Secondary education in Barbados is intended for pupils aged 11-16 years and is compulsory. The main goal of this educational level is to help students acquire knowledge and skills that will form the basic foundation for future jobs and careers. The general curriculum consists of 11-13 subjects and includes subjects such as industrial arts and arts and crafts.

Programmes offered by secondary schools are grouped into 6 levels. Core subjects on Levels I to III include woodwork, metal work, technical drawing and home economics, whereas Levels IV to VI give students the opportunity to choose electives and opt for technical and vocational education, for example electronics, mechanical drawing and home management. At the end of secondary school students take the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examination. Depending on the results of the examination students may pursue advanced-level programmes or apply to the Barbados Community College (BCC).

TVET at the post-secondary level is concerned with occupational training.

The Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) provides several types of craft and technician level training in areas including construction, agriculture, electricity, joinery, commerce, printing and shoemaking and repair. The Barbados Community College (BCC) provides technical level education and training in computer studies, applied arts, industrial technology, hospitality studies, health and commerce in addition to the Associate Degree in Arts, applied Arts, Science and Applied Science. THE BCC provides degree-level training in some specific areas.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

The Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) organizes a broad range of programmes that are addressed to both employed and unemployed people seeking to improve their qualifications or gain new ones to increase their chances on the job market.

The Programmes of BVTB are:


Students of 16 years and older who have completed 9 years of formal education can apply for an apprenticeship programme. The programme is a combination of practical on-the-job training and theoretical training on a day release basis at an approved academic institution. In order to participate in the programme a student should:

  • Identify an employer who agrees to train him/her in a chosen trade, or request assistance from the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) in finding a suitable employer; and
  • Have the employer contact the Board to make arrangements to have a contract drawn up. This contract outlines the responsibilities of the employer and the apprentice.
On successful completion of the Apprenticeship Programme the graduate is awarded a Certificate of Apprenticeship.

Evening Programmes

The Programme is open to employed and unemployed people and is designed to assist participants in self-development and to help them acquire additional skills. All programmes have a duration of 12 weeks. A certificate is awarded upon successful completion of the course.

In Plant Training

The programme is designed for those already in employment granting them an opportunity for skills upgrading and retraining. The courses offered are:

  • Occupational health and safety;
  • Training of trainers programme; and
  • Customized training as requested.
Skills Training Programme

The programme offers practical and theoretical training by qualified instructors; mathematical, communication and employability skills; entrepreneurial and small business management training and on-the-job training providing work experience.

Upon completion all participants are issued a certificate of competence.

The Community Development Department acting under the authority of the Ministry of Community Development and Culture is also a training provider. It offers training in two areas: information technology and a community arts career programme. The aim of the programmes is to allow persons to find employment in these areas and /or to enter the Barbados Community College programmes for further training. The programmes of the Community Development Department are addressed mainly to disadvantaged people, including young parents. Each training module has the duration of 3 months and is especially structured for people with little or no knowledge of computers.

There is a wide range of private institutions, including trade unions, which provide technical and vocational training, mainly in the areas of secretarial training, computer studies and industrial relations.

The Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP) provides training relevant to managers and supervisors. This organization is a joint venture between the Government and private organizations.


  • ILO (2004). Barbados national report on technical and vocational education and training. Port of Spain: International Labour Organization.
  • Ministry of Education (2000). Education in Barbados Information Handbook. Hastings: Ministry of Education.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Barbados. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.
  • Webpage of the Barbados Vocational Training Board. Accessed: 19 March 2012.
  • Webpage of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council Barbados.

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    3. Governance and financing


Critical Agencies Relevant Functions
Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHR) The implementation of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy would fall under the mandate of this Ministry. It is responsible for the formulation of education-related and development policies, and for the administration and regulation of associated programmes. Within the context of HRD, it will be responsible for the coordination of all HRD related activities by creating an environment of mutual collaboration and consultation with all other relevant agencies to facilitate the holistic approach that is taken in HRD. To this end, this Government agency would be one of the key agencies involved in achieving this intervention and would be responsible for developing proposals for staffing and seeking approval from the Ministry of Civil Service.
Ministry of Labour (MOL) This agency acts as a significant counterpart to the MEHR in its HRD efforts. It is mandated to assist the Government and its Social Partners in promoting opportunities for the provision of decent and productive work in a harmonious industrial relations climate where there is freedom of association, equity, security, and human dignity and to provide quality social and economic benefits for Barbadians. This ongoing process involves, inter alia, the following:
  • developing a Barbadian workforce, including persons with disabilities, that is well informed, properly trained and conditioned for the local, regional and extra-regional labour markets and
  • Encouraging labour force diversity through the expansion and promotion of technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
To this end, this Government agency would be one of the key agencies that would require institutional strengthening. It would therefore be responsible for developing proposals for staffing and seeking approval from the Ministry of Civil Service.

Barbados Accreditation Council This agency focuses on developing a coherent system of post-secondary or tertiary education and training which assures excellence and integrity to all its stakeholders. One of its main roles is the registration of institutions offering post-secondary or tertiary education and training, and the accreditation of programmes of studies and institutions in Barbados. This accreditation provides recognition of qualifications and transferability locally, regionally and internationally.This agency plays an important role in quality assurance through the accreditation and reaccreditation of programmes and educational institutions. It seeks to develop and sustain a quality culture in post-secondary or tertiary education and training.

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council The TVET Council was established as a statutory organization dedicated to improving the competitive position of Barbados through workforce development. The Council is mandated to plan, coordinate, and establish standards and qualifications for technical and vocational education and training. A critical dimension of its activities is the establishment of a National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) framework. These NVQs are qualifications that reflect the skills, knowledge and understanding an individual possesses in relation to a specific area of work. The NVQ will signify that the person to whom it is awarded has met the established national occupational standards of competence.This agency prepares plans for TVET in accordance with national policies and economic needs. It also establishes the aforementioned national occupational standards of competence which are used to assist the development of TVET programmes and in the design of internationally recognized competency-based qualifications for TVET. This agency also determines the facilities and resources required to ensure satisfactory standards of TVET and the welfare of students, trainees, and staff of educational institutions. Through the management of the Employment Training Fund, this agency makes grants and loans for the support and provision of TVET.

MCS: Training Administration Division (TAD) This agency provides educational quality for public officers, in order to enable the public sector to deliver effective and efficient service to the nation and to facilitate their professional development. It is also responsible for financing any external education and training, whether locally or overseas, to assist with the development of the public sector’s human resources. This Division also manages the Training Loan Fund which is accessible to all public officers who are pursuing professional development areas of study.
MEHR - Tertiary Unit The Tertiary Unit of the Ministry is charged with coordinating activities pertaining to scholarships, awards, and grants that allow citizens to pursue tertiary level education locally, regionally and internationally. Government provided significant portions of its resources to this area to enable it to meet the human resource needs of the country. This has been achieved through the provision of scholarships, the payment of fees for citizens at the University of the West Indies, and the provision of educational opportunities at the Barbados Community College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, and Erdiston Teachers Training College. Therefore, this unit also liaise with various educational institutions and Government ministries to identify priority areas.
National Employment Bureau As the national employment service, this department offers career guidance and counselling services assistance to job seekers and acts as an educational hub through its One Stop Resource Centre. It also seeks to develop linkages with schools, Government agencies, and non-governmental organizations to assist with the development of educational programmes to meet employment needs.

Government is the main financing provider for TVET and general education which is free from primary to the tertiary level. However at the post-secondary level students are required to pay certain fees that may include registration, student identification, material fees, medical insurance, etc. A training levy is also in place when employers and employees pay 0.5 percent each of the salaries and wages that are subject to national insurance. The TVET Council receives part of the levy to finance its operations of the Employment and Training Fund (ETF).

The Fund is generally used for promoting and supporting training and the upgrading of skills for the labour force. According to the TVET Council Act (adopted in 1993) the aim of the ETF is:

  • To provide financial assistance such as grants and loans for training and skills upgrading;
  • To subsidize the costs incurred by employers in training and retraining of employees in accordance with criteria established by the Council; and
  • To support training programmes in accordance with national priorities, including training for retrenched workers and self employed persons.
Apart from the levy the ETF is funded from moneys voted by Parliament for the purposes of the Fund or any other moneys, whether from gifts, grants or otherwise provided for its purposes.

ETF provides up to 75% funding for eligible training programmes.


  • ILO (2004). Barbados national report on technical and vocational education and training. Port of Spain: International Labour Organization.
  • Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (2010). Barbados Human Resource Development Strategy 2011-2016. Developing National, Institutional and Human Capacity for Sustainable Growth. Hastings: Ministry of Education.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Barbados. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.
  • Webpage of the Caribbean Community. Accessed: 19 March 2012.
  • Webpage of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council Barbados.

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    4. TVET teachers and trainers

Teaching staff in Barbad'os is divided in different levels depending on the qualifications of teachers. The levels are as follows:

  • Untrained teacher: minimum qualifications to teach at this level are four subjects from a combination of Basic Proficiency I and General proficiency I,II and III levels of CXC *;
  • Qualified teacher: teaching at this level requires entry-level qualifications and a diploma or certificate of training recognized by the Ministry of Education (e.g.: Erdiston teacher Training Certificate);
  • Graduate teacher: requirements for this teaching level is a degree from a university or any qualification approved by the Ministry as being equivalent to a degree; and
  • Professor: a Professor teaching at a college level is required to have a degree and a teacher training certification, whereas a professor teaching in the university preferably should hold a Doctor of Philosophy degree in a relevant discipline.
The Barbados Community College (BCC) offers a Bachelor of Education (B. Ed) in TVET for teachers in the secondary school and tertiary education systems.

The Erdiston Teachers’ Training College also offers a one-year Certificate in TECVOC for Adult Education aimed at trainers in the tertiary education institutions.


  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Barbados. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

Secondary vocational education

Secondary Level – Caribbean Examinations Council certificates and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs)

Post-secondary vocational education

  • Post Secondary Level – City and Guilds certificates, National/Caribbean Vocational Qualifications, (N/CVQs), Associate Degrees
  • Higher Education Level – Bachelor Degrees
National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

Barbados is in the very early stages of developing a NQF through the Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC).

Quality assurance

The Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC) is a quality assurance body for tertiary education and training. It establishes guidelines procedures and standards for institutions seeking accredited status for particular programmes.

When the institution is granted accreditation by BAC it is an expression of confidence in the institution’s operation.

The accreditation process is intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of educational provisions.

BAC provides benchmarks against which educational programmes can be measured against employment requirements.


  • Webpage of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council Barbados.
  • Webpage of the Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC). Accessed: 16 May 2012.

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    6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

The Barbados Human Resource Development Strategy for 2011-2016 approved by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Labour in 2010 is the main framework document that defines the necessary critical strategic interventions and the outputs outcomes and indicators for Human Resource Development for the period of 2011-2016. A multi-sector approach is used for the first time in Barbados where the development of human capital was previously driven by various agencies without an overreaching cross-sector development strategy. The multi-sector approach involves the execution of development initiatives by different Ministries and private and public entities that aim to improve the collective development of Barbados’ human resources in key areas including Technical and Vocational Education.

The main goals of the Strategy are:

  • The creation of an enabling environment for human resource development though institutional strengthening and capacity building;
  • Development of an internationally-recognized national qualifications framework;
  • Development of a demand-driven professional development and training services;
  • Rationalization of knowledge management systems and improved information access; and
  • Enhancement of research to improve innovation, entrepreneurship, and development capacity.

Main challenges facing TVET in Barbados concern:

  • Recognition of TVET qualifications by employers, when graduates holding TVET qualifications at levels of certificate and diplomas are not generally recognized or remunerated accordingly;
  • The absence of a well-established National Qualifications System (NQF); and
  • The fragmentation of the responsibility for the TVET system between different government ministries.

  • Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (2010). Barbados Human Resource Development Strategy 2011-2016. Developing National, Institutional and Human Capacity for Sustainable Growth. Hastings: Ministry of Education.
  • Webpage of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council Barbados.

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    7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)







Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+0.15 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
0.14 0.13
female male  
0.14 0.14
female male  
0.14 0.14
female male  
0.14 0.14
female male  
0.14 0.14
female male  
0.14 0.14
female male  

50.37 %

50.18 %

50.37 %

50.37 %

50.37 %

50.36 %

Employment (Million)

total female male


0.14 0.14
Labour Force
Labour Force Rate




Labour Force


0.07 (48.6%) 0.07 (51.4%)
Unemployment Rate






0.01 (58.3%) 0.01 (41.7%)

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations


Further reading


  • TVET - Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • BCC - Barbados Community College
  • BVTB - Barbados Vocational Training Board
  • CARICOM - Caribbean Community
  • CXC - Caribbean Examination Council
  • ETF - Employment and Training Fund
  • NVQ - National Vocational Qualifications
  • TVETC - TVET Council
  • YES - Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme

    Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
    Publication Date: 2013-05-23
    Validated by: Mr Henderson Eastmond;
    Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council;

page date 2017-05-05

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