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News - Opportunity Knocks
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Labour News.

Opportunity Knocks

The Barbados Vocational Training Board seeks to provide persons with marketable and employable skills so that they will be able to respond to any employment opportunities that may exist. Therefore the BVTB provides a number of training opportunities such as the skills training programmes.

Before developing a skills training programme a need within the job market is identified. Those needs identified then feed into the course content and a skills training programme is born.

At present the Vocational Training Board offers twenty one (21) Skills Training Programmes. For this feature of Opportunity Knocks, The BVTB would like to introduce the Heavy Equipment Operations and Preventative Maintenance Programme.



What are Backhoes and Skid Steers?

Put simply the Backhoe Digger Loader is a large vehicle used to excavate and remove material. It is a self propelled wheeled designed to carry both a front mounted bucket loading mechanism and a rear mounted backhoe. When in the backhoe mode, the machine normally digs below the ground level with bucket motion towards the machine; the backhoe lifts, swings and discharges material while the machine is stationary. When used in the loader mode, the machine loads or excavates through forward motion of the machine, and lifts, transports and discharges material.

The machine is fitted with a front shovel or bucket forward of the front wheels and a back actor to the rear of the machine. These parts can be removed and replaced by additional attachments such as the rock breaker, ripper tooth and specialized buckets.

The Skid steer, familiarly known as a Bobcat is a smaller vehicle with a bucket forward used to perform some similar functions.

The operating capacity of these machines range from four (4) tonnes to ten (10) tones.

Operating such powerful equipment is not a skill which should be mimicked. It requires a thorough knowledge and understanding of the machine.



Programme Objectives:

The Heavy Equipment Operations and Preventative Maintenance Programme aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to function as heavy equipment operators for Backhoes and Skid steer Loaders, which is of increasing demand in the Construction and Agriculture sectors.

Duration: Three months



Programme Structure:


Training Time (Hours)Programme Component
265 Practical skills training is provided in driving and operating the Backhoe and Skid steer Loader and performing preventative maintenance.
55 Backhoe and skid steer operations and preventative maintenance theory
30 Applied communication and mathematical skills;
35 Employability skills training
70 On-the-job training
Total Training Time: 455 Hours

Students enrolled in the Heavy Equipment Operations and Preventative Maintenance Skills Training Programme are also required to attend educational and training tours to relevant places of interest.

The on-the-job attachments are done at public and private construction firms. The job placement provides an opportunity to gain experience in the use of Heavy Equipment with attachments used in the construction and road building industries.



As with other skills training courses, classes are conducted five (5) days per week between 8:00am and 4:00pm.



The Skills Acquired:

At the end of a programme, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Drive the Backhoe and Skid steer loaders to satisfy the requirements of the Barbados Licensing Department
  2. Perform preventative maintenance tasks on the Backhoe/Skid steer loader
  3. Excavate building sites
  4. Load trucks
  5. Level and grade and areas in compliance with work orders.


If You Are Interested

Persons interested in enrolling in any of our skills training classes including Heavy Equipment Operations can contact the office for further information.



Contact Information

Barbados Vocational Training Board
Lawrence Green House
Cnr. St. Paul’s Avenue and Culloden Road
St. Michael
Tel # 436 – 7970
Fax # 437-8759

Published: Sunday, 14th May, 2006


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