Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, has espoused the view that technical and vocational training will be the key contributor to workplace survival.
She made this observation on Thursday while addressing the graduation ceremony for the Competency-Based Training Fund’s (CBTF) graduation ceremony at Hilton Barbados Resort.
Emphasising that any country or organisation could have a strategy, and mission and vision statements, Senator Byer Suckoo said their tenets would not be achieved unless they had the right staffing complement with the competencies to get the job done.
“In today’s globally competitive environment, technical and vocational education and training continues to gain significant recognition in both developed and developing countries. Certainly, the promotion of technical and vocational education training is high on the agenda of the Government of Barbados [and] especially so in my Ministry – the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development – as TVET provides a highway to the world of work and increase our overall competitiveness,” she stated.
The Minister of Labour added that a strong workforce, with high values, specialised skills and competencies, would improve the innovation and productivity of industries in Barbados.
Pointing to the successes of technical and vocational and competency-based training in countries such as South Korea, Germany and Singapore, the Senator said emphasis on these areas has led to a reduction in unemployment rates in Germany and Singapore of 3.7 and 3.8 per cent respectively.
“These are the kinds of figures that we are aiming to achieve here [in Barbados]. We have seen our unemployment drop from around 12 per cent to 9 per cent but I really would mind a rate of 3.7 per cent or lower. So, these are the figures that we are aiming to achieve and with the TVET strategy we are on the right course,” she underscored.
So far, 4,100 Barbadians have been trained under the Competency-Based Training Fund to the tune of BDS $16.1 million, with funding provided by the Inter-American Development Bank.