Government remains committed to pursuing policies and programmes to develop and equip workers with skills and competencies necessary for today’s environment and the future.
Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, stressed this today as he addressed the opening of the 2018 World of Work Showcase, at Frank Collymore Hall, Tom Adams Financial Centre, which targetted secondary school students.
While stating that technological advances required policy-makers to be more proactive, Minister Jordan said educational and vocational training policies were especially important, and must be able to provide young people with employable skills to enter the labour market.
He noted that his Ministry, in an effort to ensure policies were effective, was continually conducting research and analyzing data which provided valuable information on the labour market in Barbados, including information on skills gaps.
The information, he added, was shared with stakeholders, education policy makers and training institutions to properly prepare students and job seekers for the world of work.
“We recognise that if countries are to be successful, they need productive workers. In this regard, Barbados is no different. As we seek to address the needs of Barbadian workers, we must be cognizant of the specific needs and vulnerabilities of our youth. The need to equip our young people with the attitudes, knowledge and the requisite skills will be a major factor in the island achieving success and sustainable development.
“It is imperative that adequate education, training and support be given to our youth to provide them with the relevant guidance and information, so they can make decisions on career choices and securing jobs. That is why I must reiterate the importance of events like this one. Again the organizers, the teachers of participating schools, and exhibitors should be lauded for their involvement,” Mr. Jordan said.
While pointing out to students they needed to understand that finding a dream job can seem like a job in itself, he added: “The transition from school to work does not always occur smoothly; there are sometimes obstacles. The job of getting that job starts now.”
He also stated that the Ministry continued to support the World of Work Showcase, because it fitted well with its mandate and assisted in the smoother transitioning of students from school to the world of work. Thanking Regional Management Services Inc. and others for sponsoring and partnering with them, the Minister said the programmes were necessary in helping Government to guide the nation and youth, in particular, towards a better future.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of the Regional Management Services Inc., Dennis Depeiza, acknowledged that successive governments had placed emphasis on the engagement and empowerment of young persons and the promotion of their preparation for entry into the world of work.
He said: “It is our hope that this programme will serve the useful purpose of addressing existing employability issues, which are known to occupy the attention of employers, as it relates to recruitment, retention, performance and productivity.”
Noting that the showcase came as a result of the diagnosis by experts who think there is a deficiency in the skills gap, Mr. Depeiza stated: “It is felt that young persons entering the job market are lacking in such soft skills as communication, problem solving and conflict resolution.”
Endorsing the comments of Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association, Edward Clarke, he said: “There is a need for a change in the educational system, so that students coming from our secondary schools and University of the West Indies are ready for the world of work.”
Mr. Depeiza added it was for this reason he was making a call on all employers to become involved in offering job attachments to students participating in the World of Work Showcase.
During the ceremony, he was presented with two certificates for job attachments by Duty Free Caribbean Ltd., and he said there were other offers from entities such as the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries and the Barbados Employers’ Confederation.