Skills For The Future Programme Likely To Tackle Unemployment

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Minister of Labour and Social Security,??Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo; listens while IDB’s Country Representative, Joel Branski (third from left) makes a point at the signing ceremony. At far left is Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, while at right is Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler.??(A. Miller/BGIS)

Youth unemployment and underemployment on the island could soon be diminished once the Skills For the Future Program gets under way.

This was intimated today by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, following the official signing ceremony, at Government Headquarters, of a Loan Agreement between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Government of Barbados (GOB) to facilitate the Program’s execution.

She said: "With the Skills For The Future Program and the National Employment Policy, we are also putting a lot of emphasis on training and certification for students not only in the academic areas, but also in the technical and vocational areas…"

Agreeing with comments made by IDB Representative Joel Branski, that our children would probably be taking up jobs that we cannot even begin to think of now, the Labour Minister said: "That is something that engages the Ministry of Labour and we are working with employers to ensure that we have some idea of what the needs are in the short to medium-term, so that we can help to design the training and help to counsel as well."

Emphasising that this was another area which her Ministry was concentrating on, Dr. Byer Suckoo said: "…It is spoken to also in this [Skills For The Future] Program?? – career guidance and counselling for students – because we don’t want all of our students to come through school thinking that they have to pursue academia, perhaps law and economics…We have a lot of students doing that and then they come out of school all looking for the same jobs and none of them is in a position to take jobs in other areas.

"So, we believe we have to put some emphasis on career guidance and career counselling; helping students to realise that we are all not wired the same.?? We have different skills and we can validate those skills as well…

Certification goes a long way towards that as well So, that is what we are putting our emphasis on in our Ministry."??????

Stressing that like the rest of the world, the Ministry was concerned about the level of unemployment and particularly youth unemployment, Dr. Byer Suckoo added: "We can’t just tell our young people to ???get up and find a job’, the reality is there aren’t that many jobs out there but we have to encourage them to be able to prepare to create employment as well… this [Skill For The Future Program] is an attempt to address all of that."

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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