Barbados will receive BDS$17 million from the European Union (EU) within the next few days as part of the EU???s continuing support of Barbados??? Human Resource Development (HRD) Programme.

Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, said at a press conference today that this represented the fourth payment of the overall contribution of BDS$112 million to the sector.

Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, in thanking the EU for what is termed Budget Support, noted that this type of assistance was always targeted towards specific projects, in this case, the HRD Programme.

He explained that the programme was a systems-wide initiative involving the public and private sectors, and was aimed at developing a highly-trained cadre of people to contribute to the development of the overall economy

He noted that while traditionally the Barbadian economy revolved around primarily big businesses with some smaller businesses impacting in specific areas, in the current environment it was small and medium-sized businesses which were driving economic growth.??Mr. Sinckler said that now was the time for Barbados to reposition its human resources so that it can engage the global economy with new, exciting and different skills to be able to compete.

Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, under whose Ministry the Human Resource Development Strategy is being executed, thanked the Ministry???s staff, and especially the Human Resource Development Unit, for their hard work in accelerating the project.

She said that under the project, the role of the Ministry had expanded from traditionally ensuring acceptable workplace conditions and procuring work for people under its employment programmes, to now making sure that workers were adequately prepared for the workplace by acquiring the right skills.

???We are now involved in demand-driven education where we are training people to meet the demands of the workplace, and we are working with the private sector to make sure that they are not only certified but also relevant,??? the Minister stated.

She added that with certification, these workers would be eligible to work not only in Barbados and the rest of the region but also further afield, since the Ministry of Labour was working with Canada and Europe to ensure opportunities for skilled workers in these countries.

Ambasador Barfod said he was pleased with the implementation of the programme so far.??He noted: ???Whereas the importance of the human resource policy cannot be over-emphasised, the true success of the strategy will be measured by the progress of the Barbadian people.

“In this regard, we are especially satisfied with the level of training and retooling undertaken in the last financial year, particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, knowledge management, and specific HRD-related areas.???

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