Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the development of Barbados’ human capital. The pledge was made when the Ministry of Labour hosted a Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS) Orientation Seminar for Entrepreneurial Bodies, at the Warrens Office Complex this morning.
Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo gave the assurance that government’s priority was to ensure “that Barbados has the capacity to mitigate the effects of the international economic environment [and] our human capital remains the key ingredient, our “secret ingredient”, so people are at the centre of our growth and development strategies.”
She noted that the HRDS, which was being facilitated with assistance from the European Union and other development partners, featured specific targets. These include: the development of a Competency Based Education and Training System to provide relevant, accessible and higher quality education and training services; and the promotion of a research culture to enhance the potential for the development of new technologies resulting in the production of more local products, with additional benefits to include easier access to financing for small and micro-business entrepreneurs, and an increased number of persons pursuing self-employment opportunities.
Outlining the public sector’s participation in this effort, Senator Byer Suckoo said: “The implementation of this Strategy will include capacity building and educational programmes which will result in a better trained civil service capable of providing more effective services to the public.” She added that this was in line with the objectives of Barbados Action Team’s Efficiency Working Group, which had identified short-term measures to improve civil service efficiency.
These goals could not be achieved without the establishment of specific standards, however, with the Labour Minister noting that “The need for improved standards in the delivery of education and training, and for certification, will be the outcome of our efforts to develop a National Qualifications Framework.” She further noted that the Strategy also promotes the Caribbean and National Vocational Qualifications to facilitate this effort.
The Strategy also delves further and addresses the creation of a comprehensive knowledge management system, to allow for more effective labour market planning and the delivery of more market relevant educational programmes. This would provide policymakers with access to current information on the labour market, while career planning experts would have useful information to provide students and job seekers with advice on job opportunities and career paths.
“The HRDS has the capacity to sustain Barbados and Barbadians for many years,” Minister Byer Suckoo maintained. “All that is further required is that all the stakeholders in the process remain committed to realising the targets set, and the objective – that of improving the overall coordination, and quality of delivery of human resource development in Barbados – will be assured.”
The Barbados HRDS features five pillars: The creation of an enabling environment for human resource development through institutional strengthening and capacity building; the development of an internationally recognised national qualifications framework; the development of demand-driven professional development and training services; the rationalisation of knowledge management systems and improved information access; and the enhancement of research to improve innovation, entrepreneurship, and development capacity.