Making Barbados Labour Market Information Accessible

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Bringing employers and employees together, assisting researchers with up-to-date information and facilitating the development of Barbados’ labour force are just some of the positive components of the newly launched Barbados Labour Market Information System.

Additionally, this website, developed by the Manpower Research and Statistical Unit in the Ministry of Labour, now boasts information which is more easily accessible and user-friendly, interactive and responsive to the varying needs of the public.

Chief Research and Planning Officer in the Manpower Research and Statistical Unit, Mark Franklin, explained that the website was first launched in 1998; however, it had to be upgraded in order to facilitate the public, who often complained about the lack of labour information readily available.

He said: "The public was asking for various types of information and to keep the website relevant, we decided to make sure that information was put on that was reflective of what [they] wanted.

"For example, the Labour Department is divided into three sections – Industrial Relations, Occupational Health and Safety and the National Employment Bureau.?? For the Industrial Relations Section, the public, at the click of a mouse button, can get information on the conciliation process, what happens during routine inspections and how the department goes about the process of trade union recognition within a particular agency or business."

Mr. Franklin added that updates on the other areas were also available and interested persons could peruse information related to routine factory inspections, the process involved in investigating an accident that had occurred at a particular business and the process to be followed if either a worker or an employer wanted to lodge a complaint in their workplace.

Also available on the website is an online job centre, which seeks to bring employers and job seekers closer together and to provide them with a forum in which they can interact.?? "When you access the website there is a pretty simple process where basic information is asked, like your name, address, birthdate and so on.??

"Once registered, the idea is that you can go on the website and access information that employers have posted, and similarly, employers, once they are registered, can search the database of job seekers out there that are posted on the site," the Chief Research and Planning Officer explained.

Help is also online for those persons who may be unsure of how to use basic job search tools such as writing a cover letter or r??sum??, or may be unaware of how to prepare for an interview (including how to dress, what time was suitable to arrive, and what type of questions a job seeker could ask).

Mr. Franklin pointed out that even though this information might appear simplistic, such skills were not as well-known as they should be, and this was reflected when officials from the Ministry interacted with employers. "They [employers] complain that there are basic skills, core skills and soft skills that the average job seeker, especially young job seekers that are now entering the labour market, do not have…the website can be a tool that bridges the gap that currently exists and can give young job seekers a ???leg-up’," he outlined.

Critical aspects of labour legislation can also be found on the website, along with the protocols established by the Social Partnership of Barbados and information related to Barbados’ commitment to the International Labour Organisation’s Decent Work programme.

Members of the public are invited to give their feedback on the website using the feedback mechanism uploaded there. It may be accessed at http://labour.gov.bb/.????

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