Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo.?? (FP)

Government is investigating all avenues to find jobs, and apprenticeship and training programmes, for Barbadians here and overseas.

This was underscored by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she addressed the opening ceremony of the 71st Annual Delegates Conference of the Barbados Workers’ Union, last Saturday at Solidarity House.

In fact, Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out that several jobs were available in the cruise line industry, and stated that personnel from Norwegian Cruise Lines were on the island to recruit individuals for 100 entry-level shipboard positions in utility hotel, utility galley and restaurant steward categories. "This is a first for Norwegian Cruise Lines coming to Barbados," she noted.

The Labour Minister told the delegates that the recruiters were "very happy with the standard of candidates they had interviewed," with these individuals, she disclosed, exceeding their expectations. As a result of this, she added, the cruise line had decided to offer more positions to Barbadians.

Speaking about other attempts by her Ministry to secure jobs for locals, she said that efforts were under way to expand the scope of the external employment labour programme, particularly in the western provinces of Canada.

"Research into these provinces indicates that their economies are growing at significant rates and, consequently, they are seeking to acquire workers with diverse skills sets… I recently visited Alberta and British Columbia and met with provincial government officials and employers to find jobs for skilled Barbadian workers. There is a labour shortage in the province of Alberta, and hence their need to recruit migrant workers now, especially welders, pipe fitters, heavy duty mechanics and nurses. And, those are just some of the several categories of workers needed in Alberta," she explained.

Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out that, not only was the Ministry trying to assist workers in finding employment, it also sought to help them acquire "the requisite skills sets, competencies and certification, in order to take advantage of some of those skilled job opportunities that I mentioned."

In order to make sure that Barbadians could get jobs in western Canada, she said it would be advantageous to acquire the Red Seal standard for training and certification, since it was used by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and that state’s employers. She pointed out that it would complement the existing internship or apprenticeship programmes and technical training courses, such as the National Vocational Qualifications and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications.

Furthermore, the Labour minister announced plans to make white collar apprenticeship a reality in Barbados and said that the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council would be strengthened and the programmes of the Barbados Vocational Training Board improved.

For a copy of the speech please click here.


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