History

WorldSkills International, the governing body, showcases the importance of skills by recognising and supporting young, skilled professionals around the world through several activities including Research, Promoting Skills, Career Building, Education and Training, International Cooperation and Development, and, Skills Competitions.

WorldSkills is the global hub for skills excellence and development, promoting vocational, technological and service oriented education and training in 51 skill areas. It promotes skilled careers in its more than 77 member countries and regions, all working with youth, educators, governments and industries to help prepare the workforce and talent of today for the future.

The WorldSkills Competition is its flagship event. It promotes world class standards and introduces youth to skill areas such as Cabinetmaking, Web Design, Automobile Technology, Mechatronics, Hairdressing and Welding. In addition to the biennial international competition, member countries also host national and regional competitions.

Barbados became an associate member of WorldSkills in 2011 becoming the second English speaking Caribbean member. Jamaica became a full member in 2002.

The first biennial WorldSkills Barbados Competition was held in 2012. Barbados went on to participate in the second WorldSkills Americas in November 2012. The island's sole representative, Akeila Chapman of the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB), copped the silver medal in the Ladies and Men’s Hairdressing category.

In 2014, following the staging of the second biennial WorldSkills Barbados Competition, the country again entered the WorldSkills Americas competition. Rukiya Clarke of Semaj International School of Cosmetology and Trichology won bronze in the hairdressing category.

Barbados became a full member of WorldSkills International in 2017. The four gold medallists from the WorldSkills Barbados Competition 2016 represented their country at the 44th biennial competition, WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, which took place in the United Arab Emirates from October 14th – 19th. Akeil Craig-Browne, Tinisha Hall, Roshida Griffith and Takiya Jordan competed in the skill areas of Automobile Technology, Cooking, Fashion Technology and Hairdressing, respectively. Although we did not medal, Akeil Craig-Browne as the top performing Barbadian competitor received the Best of Nation award.

In August 2019, Barbados sent a team of six competitors to the 45th biennial competition, WorldSkills Kazan 2019, in Russia. Zaria Archer, Danny Mayers, Kristina Patrick, Peabo Sampson, Terrique Ward and Shae White competed in the skills areas of Car Painting, Cooking, Fashion Technology, Graphic Design Technology, Hairdressing and Restaurant Service, respectively. Shae White received the Best of Nation award and was also subsequently afforded the opportunity to be elected to the WorldSkills Champions Trust (WSCT) as the Representatives for the Americas. The WSCT is an advocacy group comprising previous WorldSkills International competitors.

The world was affected by the COVID 19 Pandemic in 2020.  The WorldSkills Barbados 2020 competition was similarly affected, taking place in November after a brief postponement. The global pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the WorldSkills Shanghai 2021 competition and in its place the hosting of a modified competition in the form of the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition.

Utilising a slightly different format, which saw the international WorldSkills Competition spread throughout 15 countries and regions and 26 cities rather than in a solitary host country, it involved 62 skills and over 1000 competitors from 54 member countries. Barbados was represented by Tonquanja Giddings in Restaurant Service and Jessica Cummins in Cooking; both of which took place in Lucerne, Switzerland October 23 -26.

Tonquanja received the Best of Nation award. She not only received the highest score by a Barbadian competitor, but she also placed highest of any competitor over the three international biennial competitions in which Barbados has participated.