Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds. (FP)

Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, is calling for greater synergies between the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) to facilitate greater ease of movement of skilled nationals across the region.

He made the call on Wednesday, while participating in the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries’ Fishbowl Conversation Series High-Level discussion on Facebook. It was held under the theme Services for Economic Resilience and Post-Pandemic Recovery.

Minister Symmonds told his audience that the NVQ and CVQ should be working hand-in hand, and correcting this situation presents an opportunity at the level of CARICOM to “ensure the movement of skilled Caribbean Community nationals”.

He added: “Barbados still has a lot of work to do with regards to making sure that the NVQ or the access to NVQ qualifications is brought to the widest possible cross section of our publics. It has to be decentralised in my judgement and brought into the communities for ease of access and for convenience.”

Mr. Symmonds proffered the view that Barbados had to move its citizens from a situation of being engaged in “simple routine work activities under supervision” to a managerial or entrepreneurial level, able to deal with complex situations and have personal accountability for the design, planning, execution and evaluation of the work functions they performed.

He lamented that one of the setbacks to the export of services was the failure to “hammer out” mutual recognition agreements, thereby utilising the French and Dutch Antilles, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean territories, as avenues of opportunity for service providers at a professional level to engage at a wider-level.

“I think that, that is an error that we have made, and an opportunity, quite frankly, that I think that we have lost because we were supposed to have seen this come out of the Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed as far back as 2008. So, that is still a work in progress and it is a source of some concern, and it has to be fixed,” Mr. Symmonds underlined.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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