The Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) programme is a Government initiative aimed at skills training in Barbados, with a specific focus on the Tourism industry. The programme facilitates the re-engagement and upskilling of tourism workers with the goal of transforming and improving one of the most essential sectors in Barbados, the tourism sector. Since 2020, the National Transformation Initiative has assisted tourism companies, directly and indirectly, with preparing tourism-specific training plans for the upskilling of their workers and the creation of more financially viable and resilient companies. Through this programme, tourism businesses are connected with training providers, both expert facilitators and established training institutions. Their courses empower employees with industry-leading skills to bring transformation to the sector, the companies with whom they work and enhance their employability for the future.
While it is difficult to plan in such an uncertain global environment, the BEST programme is designed to facilitate the development of a much-improved Barbados tourism product through creative re-engagement of the tourism workforce, talent management and transformational investments. Our approach is a marriage of training for the industry’s current state and a data-driven approach to training for global future trends in the tourism industry.
To date, the NTI has supported BEST in the art of service, a variety of management courses, beginner and intermediate language courses, housekeeping and house management programmes, basic food safety training as well as specialised courses in landscape gardening, plumbing, mixology, photovoltaic installation, electric vehicle (EV) maintenance and other in-demand areas. These customised programmes, with the help of our partners, have helped over 2000 tourism workers to upskill despite the setbacks that have come with a global pandemic. Additionally, through our landmark partnership with Coursera, the world’s largest online learning provider, we have established a dedicated Tourism Academy, providing free access to hundreds of training areas with a specific focus on direct and indirect tourism skills.