For the last three years, the Ministry of Labour has been assisting several public, private and non-governmental organisations with the development of programmes aimed at providing this country’s youth with the critical skills needed to shape their thinking and approach to work.
Addressing the closing ceremony of the 16th Annual Career & Life Management (CALM) Programme last Friday at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Open Campus, Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, said her Ministry recognised that there was a big demand for these types of initiatives.
She told her audience: “Too often employers complain that ‘this person is bright,’ ‘this person has come from University with a First Class Honours degree’, and yet they are not prepared for the work place. They don’t have the skills to cope with other people or cope with the demands of work, even though they have that First Class Honours from University. So, it is a different skill from what you acquired from school.”
Senator Byer Suckoo further stated that Government recognised the need to strengthen the career counselling services in secondary schools, so that today’s youth would be exposed not only to comprehensive career guidance, but also to information on essential life and employability skills.
“Our career guidance is not necessarily up to par with what is demanded in the work place. So, our career guidance counsellors need to, and must be able to prepare you (students) for the world of work; to tell you what work is out there; what you need to do in terms of academics to get there; and also what other skills you might need, and we believe that career counsellors are ideally placed for that,” she pointed out.
The CALM Programme was a two-week course offered by the Pinelands Creative Workshop and its partners – The UWI Open Campus, the National Employment Bureau, the National Productivity Council and Higher Heights. It is one element of a broader initiative entitled: Youth Beyond Expectations, funded by the Maria Holder Trust.
The primary objective of CALM is to enhance the capacity of students to respond to the demands of the changing work environment, by way of developing essential abilities, attitudes and the correct mindset that is crucial for success in the modern work place.