A virtual capacity building workshop which commenced today for organisations under the ambit of the Third Sector, is yet another effort by the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations to support training and retraining of individuals in the COVID-19 environment.
This was alluded to today as Labour Minister Colin Jordan addressed the opening of the two-day initiative, being facilitated with the technical assistance of the United Nations Office for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
The Minister, noting that with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbados sought to employ a number of tools to stabilise the economy, said: “These efforts are meant to soften the adverse human and economic impact by getting assistance to our people and providing support for the retention of jobs in the private sector.
“Even as we face the health emergency, we continue our efforts to transform Barbados into a place where all citizens can feel safe and be productive, and that once again we become a space for continuous economic growth and sustainable societal development.
“We are however determined that during this period of difficulty, where a number of workers have not yet returned to the workforce, continuing emphasis will be placed on the training and retraining of our people.”
He further noted that his Ministry was offering an extensive array of online training programmes through collaborations with the Commonwealth of Learning, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the National Transformation Initiative.
Stating that these were initiatives of the COL/Coursera Workforce Recovery Programme and the ILO Employability Project respectively, he urged interested persons to capitalise on the opportunities to build and upgrade qualifications and skills.
Expressing concern about the Third Sector/Civil Society organizations not being afforded the opportunity to participate fully and meaningfully in the decision making in this country, Mr. Jordan stressed that the sector should not be underestimated.
He said the organisations had been instrumental in the creation of employment, the facilitation of services, advocating for social and economic policies and programmes, and giving voice to many whose voices are not being heard.
“Civil society organisations can be found at the heart of society, effectively engaging populations and people in areas that Governments are often unable to reach,” he said, assuring them of his Ministry’s commitment to them being part of the discussions and decision-making processes that impact on the continued development of Barbados.
This commitment, he noted, had already been seen in the establishment of the Social Justice Committee comprising women’s, men’s and youth organisations; organisations representing people living with disabilities; faith-based organisations; the LGBT community; journalists; the credit union and wider co-operative sector; social workers; NGOs; parent-teacher associations; an organisation working with sex workers; and the Barbados Family Planning Association.
Their role, he added, was to consider matters relating to social justice in the areas of poverty alleviation, the role of the family, discrimination, access to education, the integration of people living with disabilities, access to employment, safety and security, and the environment.
Mr. Jordan further noted that more than ever, the Ministry remained committed to conducting the capacity building workshops to address deficiencies identified by many of them including low levels of financial support, lack of governance structures, and limited skills in management and finance.
“The need to have a thriving, engaged, connected and effective Third Sector is recognised and acknowledged. Opportunities will be made available to facilitate your participation,” he assured.