Having the right attitude is one of the keys to success in the workplace.

This was the message Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, offered students yesterday, as she officially opened the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors??? 9th Annual Career Showcase at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Sponsored by the Ministry, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Barbados Manufacturers??? Association and other agencies, the showcase highlighted dozens of career options for secondary school students. Minister Byer Suckoo observed that, while qualifications were essential, one???s attitude towards work was also critical.

???It is crucial that school leavers be sensitised to those skills which can help them to understand their strengths and weaknesses; and to competently communicate with persons at all levels in a formal setting, utilising both written and oral communication. These are skills which help them to present themselves in a positive and confident manner, in any circumstance. Sometimes that is what carries you over the top in a job interview,??? the Minister said.

Students were also encouraged to ???dream big??? and make good use of opportunities which were presented. Dr. Byer Suckoo advised them that as they approached the world of work, they should make every effort to embrace opportunities for educational attainment, career planning and development.

???I commend guidance counsellors for the invaluable work that they continue to do for young people,??? she said, adding that their role had evolved into one of both student advocate and mentor.

Noting that preparedness for the workforce was paramount for all school leavers, the Labour Minister observed that every year, many young persons compete to secure jobs in the local labour force. ???Some of these young job seekers may have secondary or tertiary level qualifications and sadly some may have few or none at all.

???Recently, I came across information that suggested that???in 2012 there were 13 per cent of students who came out [of school] with no qualifications,??? she lamented, noting that this did not account for those who had not registered for exams.

However, she said that in spite of this, all was not lost, since national programmes continued to meet the needs of students who possessed a range of skills.

???Sadly, our society still holds a mindset that we must steer our children towards academic studies and traditional occupations. ???But I believe the time has come for us???to move away from that mindset. I am heartened that the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors has invited parents to participate in this event, to sensitise them to the vast scope of career opportunities available to them,??? Dr. Byer Suckoo said.

The Career Showcase, which included booths from the Barbados Community College, IGM Stage Lighting, Sandy Lane hotel, the Barbados Port Authority, the Immigration Department, and the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, ends today.


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