A member of Government is concerned that workers are being brought in from overseas to take up jobs, particularly in the construction sector, that could be filled by Barbadians.
Member of Parliament for St James North Edmund Hinkson said the practice of local construction firms hiring overseas workers before locals must be corrected if young Barbadians are to reap the benefits of investments in local building projects.
“It can’t be a situation where businesses, construction companies as we speak, are applying for Columbians to come here to do construction when we have Barbadians here,” Hinkson said, as he suggested that the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training’s recently launched Barbados Construction Gateway Training Initiative could help address this problem.
“ . . . . Through this Construction Gateway Initiative, [they] will be given three months training and will be able to get a job in plumbing, in electricals, in tiling, in labour work, masonry, etc.”
Hinkson, patron of the Clarkson Foundation Inc. – a non-profit company that provides social welfare, and community services and projects for the residents of St James North and its environs – made the comments at the recent launch of the foundation’s Life and Work Skills Programme.
He suggested that the programme could help provide persons for the Construction Gateway Initiative, which is designed to give local artisans the skills they need to be ready for the predicted construction boom on the island.
The Work Skills Programme, which is in its fourth iteration, will consist of teaching sessions and workshops geared at developing students’ confidence, self-esteem, team and analytical skills, and other areas that are necessary for the modern world of work. It targets individuals between the ages of 17 and 35 years old.
Hinkson said the programme should be seen as a priceless opportunity for young people.
“This programme has a proven record of success…. About 80 per cent of those who have graduated from the three previous programmes have found employment within three months of their graduation, or have been able to start their own businesses. That is a fantastic record of achievement,” he said.
Space in the upcoming workshops is still available and interested persons have been urged to contact the Clarkson Foundation Inc. to secure their spots.