At least 20 Barbadians will have the opportunity to work in the United States of America (USA) from early next year.
This comes as the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, through the Barbados Employment and Career Counselling Service (BECCS), facilitated interviews of Barbadians for a US farm labour programme, slated to get under way in the State of New York in January, and in West Virginia from February.
Senior Employment Officer in the Ministry, Pauline Farnum, explained that the US opportunities were a new addition to the current list of external programmes, which recently saw Barbadians taking up jobs in Canada and the United Kingdom.
She added that while 20 persons were being recruited initially, it was hoped that more opportunities would open up for Barbadians in the US, as the Ministry continued to work with the Liaison Officer in the Miami Office.
Under the programme, eight people will be recruited to work on a vineyard with grape production in the State of New York, from January, for a three-month period, while 12 will head to West Virginia, from February, and work until June in a greenhouse in the production of plants and flowers.
The candidates, who were pre-screened by officers of BECCS, were interviewed by Chief Operating Officer with the Specialty Crop Farm Labour Contractor based in Rochester, New York, Luis Carcamo, during a recruitment session at the Ministry’s Warrens, St. Michael office recently, and owner of the company, Brandon Mallory, who joined the two-day session virtually.
Mr. Carcamo commended the high level of experience of the candidates, and noted that they were generally “very pleased” with those interviewed.
“We are happy to see that in many of the profiles of the individuals, they already have experience in similar programmes in Canada and the UK. Many also have some agricultural background in Barbados, [so we are] happy to see that. I think we are very pleased with the quality of the candidates so far,” he said, noting that this was the first time the company was recruiting Barbadian workers.
The recruiter further noted that it was hoped that additional positions for employment would open up in the US market in coming months.
He explained that the US-based company was a farm labour contractor, which worked with growers of various kinds of produce across America. He added that they were presently seeking out additional growers in the State of New York and in West Virginia, along with other states, such as Florida and Virginia.
“We are looking for people who want to try new things; learn new skills; have an open mind; work in a different environment. The number one quality is being a hard worker and being able to adapt.
Mr. Carcamo added that the company focused on circular labour mobility programmes, which would allow individuals to go the US and work for a period and return to Barbados, and repeat the process annually. “Hopefully, after some time, they would feel that both places are home,” he said.