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Minister of Labour and Social Security, Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo has thrown her support behind the Strengthening of Labour Market Monitoring and Performance Project which is being funded by the World Bank and executed by the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies.

She voiced her support for the initiative today while delivering the feature address of the launch of the project at the Cave Hill School of Business.

Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo

Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo

“As a scientist myself, being a member of the medical profession, I do believe in the value of data and using that data to inform policy changes. That is what has been going on in my ministry over the past four and half years that I have been minister,” Suckoo said.

“We are also cognizant of the fact that countries throughout the region are still continuing to experience the effects of the global financial crisis. The effects on our people have been very severe. As we try to extricate ourselves from this period, any effort to strengthen labour market monitoring and performance is welcomed in Barbados, and indeed the wider Caribbean, as is the development of a regional labour market information system. I do believe that this will lead to an improved quality of life.

“Such a system would provide quantitatively and qualitatively, intelligent information on the labour market that would assist labour market agents in making informed plans, choices and decisions related to their business requirements, career planning, educational training offerings, job search recruitment and workforce investment strategies. Such a system requires effort. Labour markets are in a continual state of flux and would most likely need adjustments to keep up with changing market arrangements and needs of economic agents,” she said.

Suckoo maintained that the benefits for governments, employers, employees, job seekers and education providers from such research projects are extensive.

 “Such a system would aid governments by informing labour market policies on the management of skill gaps and providing key indicators on labour demand and supply in the region. It would inform priorities and even scholarships. It would provide evidence to inform a dynamic immigration policy responsive to the current needs of industry and evidence to inform any adjustments to social security schemes. Job seekers or employees would be supported in making decisions about their future development by having information on the needs of labour markets and by being able to identify current and future job market opportunities, “ Suckoo said.

 She further explained that with the execution of the project, educators would be able to align their course offerings with the labour market needs, through the analysis of labour market trends. Employers, therefore, would be able to make decisions on upgrading their employee skills, as well as access information on skills available on the labour market.

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