First language students graduate BCC under the BEST programme

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

One hundred and six students from eleven direct and indirect tourism businesses can now speak Spanish and French after completing Language for Business and Tourism courses.

The virtual graduation ceremony for the first cohort, who completed the beginners’ level, took place Friday. Attendees included Principal of Barbados Community College (BCC), Annette Alleyne, Director (Ag.) Barbados Language Centre, Paul Blackman, other BCC facilitators, and tourism representatives.

The National Transformation Initiative (NTI) facilitated the six-week training in partnership with the Barbados Language Centre, a division of BCC. Classes, which started on February 8, were undertaken through Government’s Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) programme that invests in tourism businesses to re-engage all their workers and transform their properties and services.

The courses aimed to ensure that tourism workers expanded their skills in becoming conversant in foreign languages, given the ever-evolving global environment. Learners can now provide directions, take orders and offer assistance to guests in both languages.

Director of the NTI, Dr. Allyson Leacock congratulated the 69 Spanish and 37 French students on their achievement and encouraged them to continue to develop themselves into STARR Bajans.

She told the students that transformation is not optional but imperative, and takes place one person at a time. “Now you are in a position to show visitors the ultimate compliment by speaking to them in their language,” she said, challenging them to practice their new skills and move on to intermediate levels of the programme. 

Dr. Leacock further stressed the NTI’s commitment to being responsive to the challenging Covid-19 environment, and impressed upon graduates the importance of personal and professional development beyond the pandemic.

She said: “Covid-19 has shown us very clearly the value of retooling and upskilling so that we are empowered, and that our skills as a people and as a country make us ready for a future after Covid. While it will be here with us for a long time, we want to be globally fit for purpose when it is finished.”

Principal Alleyne congratulated the cohort for taking on the challenge of developing a new skill. She said, “I want to congratulate all of you for grasping the opportunity to develop new skills … I hope this experience helped you to see your potential to achieve great things.”

She also reaffirmed the college’s commitment to the development of students and Barbados, and expressed BCC’s appreciation to the NTI for being a valued partner.

In sharing her pride in the achievement of her team members, Director of Human Resources at Hilton Barbados, Cheryl Corbin also noted a heightened sense of enthusiasm among their colleagues in enrolling in the programme to acquire language skills. She expressed gratitude to NTI and BCC for hosting the training, and both lauded and encouraged all graduates to continue striving for excellence.

Kendrea Harris, of Ocean Two Resort and Residences, who successfully completed studies in French, also conveyed her gratitude to tutors for their patience and guidance. On March 22, the second cohort, learners from Hilton Barbados, will undertake Spanish, while those from all other companies will begin Spanish and French at both beginners and intermediate levels on April 5.


NTI is part of Government’s Retraining and Retooling programme (ReRe), itself a construct within The Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) Programme.

“The Re-Re Program, which involves the Retooling, Empowering, Retraining and Enfranchising of workers has to be at the core of the International Monetary Funded (IMF) program over the next four years. This is the next phase of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program that is a comprehensive retraining of Barbadian workers in an effort to make the workforce “globally fit for purpose”.

The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley Q.C. M.P. Prime Minister of Barbados
September 18, 2018


Education for Endurance

If you are a descendant of enslaved Africans, the fact that you are reading this is also living testimony that your ancestors did more than just endure. They aspired. They had hope. Existing for hundreds of years in bondage, stuck for generations deep, being considered as beasts of burden, and still they aspired to freedom, for better. Think about it. What kind of indomitable spirit must a person have to risk learning to read, knowing that by sowing seeds of knowledge they risked reaping a whipping, and probably it would not bring any change in their status as slave? Without clear sight of the end they pressed ahead. With hands and feet restricted, they understood that the key to freedom was in their heads.

Read More »

National Identity

These are all challenges that every nation may possibly face. But there is a unique challenge that faces nations like Barbados. Nations emerging from slavery and colonization have remnants of those systems woven into the fabric of their culture. How do you pull out the deep threads of oppression without unraveling the whole cultural cloth? This is a question that, in our aversion to dealing with hard questions of history, class and race, we have very much avoided. We can’t continue to do that if we want to transform Barbados and live as free and equal citizens of a strong nation.

Read More »

The Love of Learning

In today’s world when things change so rapidly, learning will have to extend long after schooling. The recently announced National Transformation Initiative and Coursera partnership offering free online educational opportunities to Barbadians is right on time. If you are already a life long lover of learning, this is a good time to be alive. If you have never learned to love learning, as long as you are still alive, it is not too late to build the mindset. We can all learn to love learning for life. The best teacher you have is you.

Read More »
Skip to content