Creating a demand-driven human resource system and a society where Barbadians are well prepared to successfully enter the job market or undertake entrepreneurship, is the driving force behind the multi-year, European Union sponsored Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy 2011-2016.

Managed by the Ministries of Labour and Education, it features five pillars which  speak to: an Enabling Environment for Human Resource Development; a National Qualifications Framework; a Demand-Driven Professional Development and Training; Knowledge Management Systems; and Research, Innovation, Entrepreneurship Capacity.

In a recent statement, Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, acknowledged the Education Ministry’s role as lead facilitator for the Strategy over the last two years and indicated government’s continued commitment to the project.  She observed that human capital development was crucial for any country’s competitiveness.

“Education, training and professional development continue to be focal areas in promoting human resource development, as countries seek to remain competitive and to be successful in the modern global economy.  It is with this in mind that a major policy of government is to sustain its investment in Human Capital Development through the provision of an effective education and training system,” she stated.

Speaking to the vital function human resource development plays, Minister Byer Suckoo observed that “We can never overstate the importance of developing our human and social capital to meet the changing demands of an open economy.  There can be no doubt that there is a growing demand for a well-educated, trained and flexible labour force that will assist in driving productivity and growth and increasing Barbados’ level of international competitiveness,” she said.

Dr. Byer Suckoo also explained that the five pillars support the necessary reforms that will transform Barbados into a developed country and assist in economic recovery, “as more Barbadians will be equipped to see ideas and opportunities where now they only see challenges; and to turn these into wealth and employment generating enterprises”.

Acknowledging that the initiative had greatly benefitted from tripartite social dialogue, the Labour Minister said she wished to “encourage further collaboration, as we must be ever mindful that all stakeholders need to work together to improve the quality of our human capital thus creating a better quality of life for Barbadians. I also want to give the assurance that my Ministry readily acknowledges its new role as the lead stakeholder and will work assiduously to ensure that all of the obligations which are outlined in this Human Resource Development Strategy are successfully implemented.”

The Strategy is expected to result in a range of benefits, including the expansion of the National Vocational Qualifications system; the implementation of a National Competence based education and training system; the establishment of a central coordinating career planning and counselling centre; and the formulation of an action plan to assess and make recommendations for improving on the delivery of second chance education and training. 

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