From left to right: President of the Canadian Horticulture Council, Murray Porteous; Jamaica’s Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier; Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Labour and Small and Mirco Enterprise Development, Errol McLeod; Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo; Montserrat’s Minister of Labour, Charles Kirnon; St. Lucia’s Minister of Education and Human Resource Development and Labour, Dr. Robert Lewis. (C. Pitt/BGIS)
Barbados is pursuing Red Seal Certification for skilled workers, so that this country will be able to produce more competitive employees to meet the Canadian labour shortage as well as to combat Barbadian unemployment levels.
Word of this has come from Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who made this disclosure during the Canada/Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Programme (CCSAWP) Annual Review Meeting at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa.
Explaining that Red Seal Certification was a Canadian standard for technical and vocational education and training, Dr. Byer Suckoo said: "Foreign skilled workers are allowed to take Red Seal exams and gain the Red Seal Certification which is required for skilled trades in Canada. I believe that gaining such a certification can only augur well for Barbadian skilled workers and assist in increasing our employment prospects in Canada."??
Pointing out that Jamaica was also pursuing Red Seal Certification; she encouraged other Caribbean countries on the Seasonal Agricultural Programme to do the same.
"…I wish to encourage other Caribbean countries to investigate the possibilities which exist through this initiative.?? This certification not only improves the possibility of securing jobs in Canada, but enhances the calibre of our workforce, and our trainers, and training institutions as well," she said.
Noting that Barbados placed significant investments in developing a comprehensive Technical and Vocational Education system on the island, she said that this was evident with institutions such as the Barbados Vocational Training Board, Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.
Noting that both national and Canadian certification could improve the prospects for Barbadians to gain employment in Canada, the Labour Minister said: "Officials in my ministry, the Barbados Vocational Training Board, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council, along with our partners at the Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, have been in discussion with their Albertan counterparts to determine the best measures to be employed to facilitate the attainment of the Red Seal certification by skilled Barbadians."
She stressed that any opportunity for Barbadians to work abroad would lower the unemployment rate among the nation’s youth.?? Further emphasising that working overseas contributed to earning valuable foreign exchange, she outlined: "[There is] the possibility of finding jobs for our skilled workers including welders, pipe-fitters, heavy-duty mechanics and nurses".