Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, speaking to school leavers at a conference on Leadership and Influencing Change at Bagatelle Great House. (B.Hinds/BGIS)

While Labour Minister, Colin Jordan is praising the level of involvement of private and non-governmental organisations in facilitating the work of Government, he wants to see them sitting at the table of the Social Partnership.

He alluded to this on Wednesday, while addressing a conference on Leadership and Influencing Change, held at Bagatelle Great House, St. Thomas, by the Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) for students about to leave secondary school.

The conference is part of a two-week Career & Life Management Program (CALM) coordinated by the PCW and funded over the last five years by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.

Mr. Jordan stated: “The engagement of our social partners will provide the opportunity to expand our current apprenticeship programme. It will also provide the impetus to advance Government’s plans to implement a National “First Job” initiative. This will provide experience to young people between the ages of 16 and 25, so that they can gain valuable workplace experience before formally entering the world of work. Moreover, plans are progressing to re-institute a Social Justice Committee which is an expansion of the current Social Partnership.”

Noting that the Social Partnership, constituted in its current form, meant organisations such as the PCW could not participate “as fully as maybe they should”, the Minister added: “As a Government, we recognise that…the Third Sector, organisations like the Pinelands Creative Workshop, need to be at the table.  [They] need to be giving input into how we grow and develop holistically so that people remain at the centre, hence the term social justice. We are talking about people and our society.”

The Labour Minister also saluted the Maria Holder Memorial Trust and the PCW for their contribution to the development of young people in Barbados and their involvement in the CALM programme, which caters to the needs of secondary school students.

“The new government of Barbados has recognised the tremendous value which non-governmental organisations, the third sector, make and can add to the social and economic development of our country.  And in that regard, we stand ready to engage in a robust social partnership conversation that resonates in building meaningful employability platforms across the island for all Barbadians.

“Just as they are working in Ireland, Singapore and Malta driving demand-driven opportunities and programmes, we will have the same in Barbados. With your [Maria Holder Memorial Trust] help, and the help of Pinelands and the help of other Third Sector organisations, we will be able to build people and a workforce that is empowered, skilled, employable and able to make a meaningful contribution to the successful and sustainable development of this country,” he stated.

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