NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, the Department of Labour along with stakeholders including Government High School’s Class of 1983 and the corporate community are addressing the country’s skills gap.
These agencies hosted the initial “Labour on Campus” – a series of career/job fairs to assist tenth and eleventh grade students to prepare for the job market — at Government High School, January 26, 2023.
Attendees included Cecilia Strachan, Permanent Secretary; Government High School Alumni Association including the Class of ’83, school administrators, faculty and students of GHS, representatives of the BUT, the Ministry of Education, the Department of Labour, colleges and universities. Participants included: Ellington Ferguson, president, GHS Class of 1983; Pavia Rolle, principal, GHS; and Christopher Farrington, public employment services officer.
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, thanked the Department of Labour for their efforts to cause citizens to be able to participate in the national economy and for expanding its efforts at schools to directly target and benefit young people as they prepare to leave school and enter a new phase of their lives. She also extended thanks to the members of GHS Class of 1983 for their partnership in the program.
She said, “Numerous studies have shown that over the last 10 years there [has been] a skills gap in the economy which indicates that while opportunities exist many Bahamians are not equipped to take advantage of these opportunities. The result is that the rationale now manifests to import labour whilst our people stand on the margins and watch.
“This state of affairs is not only unacceptable but it is a manifest anomaly, it instigates frustration, ferments anger, strips away human dignity and breeds a weakening of morale. This is destabilizing and represents a failing in national policy. It is our duty as policy makers to ensure that the first and primary beneficiaries of economic wealth and opportunity in The Bahamas are our people. It is our duty to guarantee that despite the pressures of globalization and our own national challenges that the Bahamian people are the subjects and not the objects of economic development.
“This can only be achieved by focused and uncompromising commitment and by dogged and aggressive action to bring about the desired outcomes for our people.
“The structural inequities in our country must be tackled and we must have the courage and resolve to do so. It is also mandatory that the rights of workers are ardently protected and promoted,” she added.
The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, encouraged the students to take advantage of the opportunity offered to them. He also provided a brief history of the institution.
“It is important that you know your history: where you are, how you got here and whose shoulders you stand on to take you to another level. We are here to support you to ensure that you are equipped with the necessary tools. It is important that you acquire all of the skills necessary to ensure that we hire Bahamians in the work place,” said Minister Bell.
Several government agencies and private organizations participated in the events.