Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo and Managing Director of Regional Management Services, Dennis de Peiza chatting with students at the launch the inaugural World of Work Showcase today. (C.Pitt/BGIS)
Employers have been urged to continue supporting existing internship and apprenticeship schemes or develop their own job placement programmes.
This appeal came today from Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she addressed the opening ceremony to launch the inaugural World of Work Showcase at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Dr. Byer Suckoo said such training programmes could be seen as a means of investing in and developing potential employees for the workplace. In addition, she pointed out that employers could develop a database of interns and refer to it as vacancies arose in the company.
She expressed the view that there was a need to develop a formalised world of work training programme within all secondary schools, so that students would be equipped with the necessary soft and life skills before entering the working environment.
“Such a programme should also expose students to the working environment, through job shadowing, internships or apprenticeships. This is an area which I have spoken about on a number of occasions because these are meaningful ways of building competencies, and transferring the correct work attitudes and behaviours,” she emphasised.
Dr. Byer Suckoo said that as Minister responsible for Labour and Human Resource Development, she had heard the concerns expressed by employers in both the private and public sectors regarding the lack of readiness of new entrants into the working environment.
“It has been reported frequently that our young people lack what most persons refer to as “soft” skills – those very important employability skills. Members of the Social Partnership have all alluded to this in different fora, and are committed to dealing with it individually and collaboratively,” she added.
She told her audience that her Ministry had recently completed the compilation of its “Job Seekers Manual” and copies had been disseminated to all stakeholders. It has also been posted on the Ministry’s website to allow for easy access by a wider cross-section of persons.
Dr. Byer Suckoo added that the Ministry was strengthening its Labour Market Information System to ensure that data on the current and future trends in the labour market was timely, relevant and easily accessible to key stakeholders.
“We recognise that that information is vital in determining the skills which are required to drive economic development. And so, we are now in the final stages of completing an updated Barbados Standard Occupational Classification, which will be another key tool through which young persons, HR professionals and guidance counsellors, in particular, can gain valuable information to assist in career development.
“We are also making changes to ensure that our employment services meet the needs of Barbadians today, as we realise that we have not been meeting these demands, especially with high unemployment. Very shortly we will be launching the new and improved employment services,” she disclosed.
The one-day World of Work Showcase was hosted by Regional Management Services Inc., and Dr. Byer Suckoo commended its Managing Director, Dennis de Peiza, for his willingness to share his experience and expertise in management and industrial relations.
The young people who participated in the showcase received a copy of Mr. de Peiza’s book Introduction to the World of Work, which covers a number of topics, including Unionisation: Labour Laws, Practices and Workplace Standards; Workplace Requirements and Expectations; and Things Workers Should Know.