Durham College (DC) spearheaded a multi-stakeholder Leadership Development and Change Management Project in the secondary and post-secondary education system in Barbados. The initiative is intended to support the Government of Barbados’ Human Resource Development Strategy with an emphasis on improving the quality and relevance of secondary education and the effectiveness of technical vocational education and training. This project was part of the Skills for the Future Program with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, in partnership with the Government of Barbados.
DC’s goal was to build transformational leadership skills necessary for driving change at the TVET institutions towards improving the quality and relevance of training provided, in tune with international best practices. In March 2017, DC hosted 25 mid-level managers from both secondary and post-secondary educational institutions tasked with managing and implementing organizational and systemic change processes within their institutions. DC built a 2 week training program tailored to each change management project that included topics such as: competency-based teaching and learning; recruitment and bridging programs for secondary to post-secondary training; quality assurance and curriculum development methodology; and industry engagement and work integrated learning. The project had incredible success, culminating in a certification ceremony lead by DC’s and CICan’s Presidents, as well as the Minister of Education for Barbados and Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados.
Throughout the project, DC provided ongoing coaching and mentorship to support partners in building their business plan, getting leadership buy-in and building an implementation team to support their pilot project. Each partner was responsible for ongoing reporting on progress, lessons learned and challenges throughout the lifespan of the project planning phase. One of the biggest successes and important components for sustainability of results, outside of the transfer of skills in the thematic areas of training, was the communities of practice the stakeholders built amongst themselves. Constant communication and engagement within this group will support to foster long-term relationships, sharing of lessons learned and on-going trouble shooting of challenges, while also fortifying the leadership approach of future senior leaders in Barbados education system.