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Barbadians who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will soon have access to a range of courses, being offered through the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning and Coursera.

Speaking at the launch the Workforce Recovery Programme, Minister Colin Jordan urged persons to take full advantage of these courses, which he explained were “free at the point of delivery”.

“I’m always very conscious of this word free, because everything has a cost. But these courses are being sponsored, so that those who will benefit from them will not have to pay for them, but they are being sponsored for the benefit of all.

“As Minister responsible for labour, and therefore for work development, I’m pleased to be able to embrace opportunities, such as this workforce recovery programme, because it really underpins how workers will be prepared for what is present, and what is ahead of us. While we do not know exactly what is ahead of us, we know that preparation is always important.”

The Labour Minister explained that interested persons would be able to choose from 4,000 courses in 400 specialisations, covering a wide range of topics, from over 200 recognised and accredited institutions, and which would be completed between August 31 and December 31. 

He disclosed that a number of timely and relevant courses were on offer. 

“Some of the areas of study include Fashion Design, Digital Marketing, Data Mining, Gaming Theory, and interestingly enough, COVID-19 Contact Tracing … just to list a few. Stanford University, University of California and Johns Hopkins University are just some of the named institutions, which have partnered with Coursera.”

Endorsing the courses being offered, Minister Jordan admonished that they should “be seen as instruments to empower persons, to not only bolster their self-esteem by sharpening existing skills or acquiring new ones, but to also improve their social and economic standing”.

Acknowledging that the world of work had changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, he shared his belief that the successful implementation of new decent work policies would not only result in a more stable and harmonious industrial relations climate, but also in an increase in productivity from workers who are well trained and educated.  

paula.harper-grant@barbados.gov.bb

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