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News - Should We Train or Should We Hire Skills?
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Labour News.

Should We Train or Should We Hire Skills?

Written By the Hon. Rawle Eastmond,
Minister of Labour & Civil Service

In an increasingly competitive and dynamic business environment being transformed by globalization, Barbados must develop goods and services of the highest quality to effectively compete in the international market. An essential prerequisite for the efficient delivery of high quality goods and services is the availability of skilled labour.

Employers have two options for sourcing skilled labour. They can either recruit the persons who have the skills and competencies required or they can provide the necessary training to their employees to develop these skills and competencies.

The first option is usually perceived as the easier of the two, especially with the free movement of labour, which expands the pool of skilled labour to the entire CARICOM region.

However, as Minister of Labour and Civil Service, I encourage employers to take the second option. Employers should commit to training and investing in the development of its staff and the skilled workforce in Barbados.

On the business level, training can be used to motivate employees and therefore increase not only productivity but also worker commitment. Enterprise training can also be designed to cater to company needs such as the development of exemplary work ethics and attitudes that are needed by modern businesses to produce goods and services of the highest quality.

On the national level, employers' contribution to the development of the country's labour resources allows them to fulfill their social responsibility. By integrating corporate social responsibility within business strategies, companies would make a significant contribution to a better society and could just as importantly be recognized for doing so. In a highly competitive market, any company recognition is important.

The Ministry recognizes that it must provide the necessary support if we want to encourage enterprise level training. Therefore, through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, the Ministry provides financial assistance from the Enterprise Training Fund.

The Ministry also manages an Apprenticeship programme under the Barbados Vocational Training Board. Apprentice training provides the ideal opportunity for the employers to ensure that the future Barbadian workforce has the competencies, skills, ethics and attitudes required in the workplace. As a demand driven and flexible approach to skills development, this practical on the job training is uniquely positioned to meet the challenges of the 21st Century workplace.

However, the responsibility of developing skilled labour does not rest solely on the employers. The workers themselves must empower themselves through continuous training and education to compete on the labour market. Workers must learn from the words of American businessman Lee Iacocca, whose advice is, "Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, (and) then…do something. Don't just stand there, make things happen."

Published: Monday, 15th May, 2006


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