The Ministry of Labour is in support of a more structured and coordinated approach to human resource development as is being undertaken by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.

This was signaled today by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Martin Cox, as he addressed the start of a stakeholders’ consultation, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. It was designed to examine studies on Barbados’ education and training sectors.

Mr. Cox noted that given the adverse effects of the global economic crisis on Barbados, it was imperative that tangible measures be put in place "to prepare our labour force for the inevitable upturn in economic activity". He said: "Such measures, especially the enhancement of the certification system, could serve to ensure that the Barbadian worker is flexible, well trained and can compete effectively in any labour market, local, regional or extra regional.

"Indeed, we believe that this is an inescapable issue that must be tackled if Barbados is to continue to achieve advancements in its social and economic well-being," Mr. Cox said.

Acknowledging that Barbados had already recognised the need to pursue such measures, the senior government official pointed out that there were parallels between the objectives of the studies and the goals set out under Government’s Medium-Term Development Strategy.

He listed these as the provision of opportunities for the professional development of teachers; strengthening of programmes and activities that facilitate school-to-work transition; enhancement of the capacity of schools to award national and Caribbean vocational qualifications; the expansion and improvement of the quality of information disseminated under the Barbados Labour Market Information System to support Technical Vocational Educational Training (TVET) policies, and the enhancement of the infrastructure of the TVET system.

According to the Permanent Secretary, the successful implementation of the education and training project would reap several benefits, ranging from the comprehensive assessment of the education sector to the conduct of a labour market analysis study; an initiative, he observed, was of particular interest to his Ministry.

Today’s consultation was designed to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to understand the purpose and objectives of these studies and to introduce them to the consultants who have been selected to carry out the various tasks.

Earlier this year, the Inter American Development Bank (IADB), approved the utilisation of resources from the Bank’s Special Fund for a Technical Cooperation Operation. The general objective of this initivative is to provide a detailed study of the education sector in Barbados; analyse the various sub-sectors; close existing data gaps; and provide input for discussion on policy issues for the future.??

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