The contribution of human resources development to national growth was formally recognised today, when the Ministry of Labour, the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus and the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB), signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This signals the strengthening of the human resources profession in the island.

The step was welcomed by Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, who in her feature address, noted that the MOU would serve to enhance the Ministry’s efforts to develop the agents of development – people with the Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy.

“Today, we recognise that human resource development, encompassing both technical and vocational and academic programmes, is essential to the sustainability of social and economic development…

“Human resource development is a critical component of the Government’s overall development policy, and as such, the Strategy seeks to provide the framework for comprehensive economic diversification and restructuring, thus leading to enhanced competitiveness. This development policy recognises that without the necessary human resource capacity, Barbados will not achieve its strategic objectives,” Minister Byer Suckoo underlined.

The Labour Minister also pointed out that the HRD Strategy features five pillars, with a focus on creating systems which seek to bridge the divide between education and training and meeting the human resource needs of various industries.

As such, it seeks to increase collaboration between Government and other entities to achieve this goal.

“It is against this background that I have re-appointed a Human Resource Development Advisory Council, first established in 2010.  The primary focus of this Advisory Council is to advise the Minister on: The formulation of a human resource development policy framework…The development of a system to co-ordinate, maintain and evaluate human resource development policy, planning and research…and the conceptualisation of a national vision for the development of human resources in Barbados,” she explained, adding that the UWI and HRMAB would act as members of the Council.

Their involvement was made even more essential, Senator Byer Suckoo said, as accurate and timely information relative to job analysis, and human resource management were crucial for the creation of a competent workforce.

“Preliminary reports from the technical staff of the Ministry’s Manpower Research and Statistical Unit indicate that, while establishments are very knowledgeable about the jobs which are required for the various sectors, there is some uncertainty about the required skills sets and the appropriate qualifications for the jobs…

“We cannot meet those needs if we don’t know what they are. We therefore need highly trained persons in human resource management who can provide the information necessary to achieve these goals,” she stressed.

This point was echoed by HRMAB President, Glenda Gilkes, who noted that it was critical for human resource management to be recognised for its valuable contribution, adding that the “partnership with UWI will help us to create such recognition, with a legal certification of Human Resource Management both locally and regionally.  We are looking to the many exciting opportunities that lie ahead through this strategic alliance,” she said. 

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