Government remains dedicated to the development of Barbados’ human and social capital, particularly through heavy investment in education and training.

This assertion has come from Minister of Labour Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, while speaking at the 13th Annual Conference of the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB) today, at the Accra Beach Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.

"Government is committed to increasing the number of secondary school-leavers with the appropriate knowledge, skills and competencies to successfully enter the job market or to become self-employed in sustainable ventures," she stated.

Acknowledging that one way to do so was with the establishment of recognised standards, Dr, Byer-Suckoo highlighted the work of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council in preparing Barbadians in this area.??

"Since 1998 the TVET Council has been working on developing a new type of competency-based certification….Based on occupational standards, the new qualifications known as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) will certify that an individual has been assessed as having met the skills, knowledge and behavioural requirements of a specific work role," she explained.

The Minister added that the NVQs had been developed and approved for use in a number of occupational areas including Management Levels 2 and 3, as well as in some subjects offered in the school system.?? She also pointed out that several Caribbean Vocational Qualifications the Caribbean equivalent of the NVQs, had been validated for local use.

Dr. Byer-Suckoo disclosed that Government, with the assistance of the European Union, was seeking to improve this country’s social capital through the crafting of an HR development strategy.?? The project will be a collaborative effort between the Ministries of Education and Human Resource Development, and Labour.

HRMAB also came in for congratulations from the Minister for its work in Barbados over the past 14 years, in what she described as a challenging area.?? She encouraged the organisation to use its collective talents creatively during these difficult economic times.

"As Barbados positions itself to create a favourable climate for local and foreign enterprises to grow, it is agencies such as HRMAB, with your collective talents, that can assist with the overall goals of making Barbados a fully developed society," the Minister suggested.?? She further encouraged members to resist the temptation to cut spending on training, pointing out that the efforts placed in this area now would "bear fruit" when the recession lifts.

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