Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Colin Jordan is promising laid off workers that Government has not forgotten them.
Jordan said the recent separation of workers from the Public Service must not be seen merely as a retrenchment exercise but as the first phase in the modernisation of the public service.
“Government is in the process of detailing a modernisation programme with the Inter American Development Bank that is intended to utilise many of the persons who recently lost their employment in the public sector,” he said.
Jordan was speaking at this morning’s opening ceremony of the consultation on Human Resource Development in Barbados, at the main conference room at the Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies, where he said that Barbados could not achieve a 21st century service ethos by utilising old wineskins that have not changed much since Independence.
The minister said his comment was not intended to minimise the sense of loss on the part of those who are now without jobs.
He stressed that his ministry’s policies were designed to effect changes in the quality of Barbados’ workers and in the regulation of Barbados’ labour market. He said human resource development, or workforce development, which was more comprehensive conceptually, moves beyond just education and training and promotes the ambition of an efficient labour market where employers are able to obtain the skills they need and job seekers are able to get the jobs they like and could succeed in.
“Employability, which was a core objective in the original HRD Strategy 2011-2016 must again be a signal outcome while life-long learning will be the bridge that facilitates continuing employability.
Workforce development is key to achieving three sets of important outcomes that are critical for Barbados in the context of government’s transformation agenda: increasing social inclusion, raising productivity, and preparing the economy for the future, principally through the stimulating and the formation of skill eco-systems,” he said.
Jordan also said that the development of relevant skills must not be perceived simply as investing more in training programmes, as Barbados has been doing since Independence.
The minister said Government has created a Structure of Work Sub-Committee as part of the Social Partnership, from which recommendations on the new strategies and systems are expected which could be implemented in order to promote and enhance the quality of service delivery.
The committee was also ordered to identify the supporting mechanisms required to facilitate new working arrangements, in addition to examining leave in the public service, particularly, the root causes and effects of absenteeism, including excessive sick leave, and identify ways to address them.
The committee has also been asked to make recommendations in respect of workplace design.