Governments across the region need to place more emphasis on diversifying their training offerings and enhancing the process for the certification of skill sets, if they are to successfully meet the demands of the labour market.

Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this recommendation at the recently held Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)/ International Labour Organisation (ILO) Tripartite Caribbean Symposium.?? It was entitled: Addressing the Effects of Global Economic Crisis on Labour Markets in the Caribbean and Preparing for Sustainable and Decent Employment: The Role of the Global Jobs Pact, and was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

To this end, she has made the call for a secretariat to be built for the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies and additional resources to be made available to other training institutions.

"In addition to sourcing adequate employment opportunities for our citizens, we must seek to mould labour forces that are well educated, trainable, flexible and dynamic, simultaneously addressing critical issues pertaining to labour demand and supply.

"…we must continuously collaborate with our employers in industry to ascertain the skills sets they desire their employees to have and to ensure that ultimately, such information reaches our major training institutions, in order that they can tailor their training programmes to be reflective of such needs," she explained.??????

With respect to the matter of certification, the Minister pointed out that it was often challenging for workers to acquire qualifications that were recognised locally, regionally and extra-regionally.?? She stressed, therefore, that training institutions in the region must "place a critical focus on the delivery of competence-based qualifications, such as the National and Caribbean Vocational qualifications, which provide the assurance that the holder has demonstrated the skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes required for the job".

The Symposium attracted delegates from countries across the region and was held over a two-day period.????

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