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Labour Minister announces plans to address skills gap in Country
By The Ministry of Labour
Sep 13, 2018 - 2:40:05 PM

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The Minister of Labour, Senator the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes announces plans for the upcoming National Skills Symposium during a press conference on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at the National Training Agency. Also pictured from left to right are Mr. Robert Farquharson, Executive Manager in the Ministry of Labour; Ms. Cecilia Strachan, Permanent Secretary (Actg.) in the Ministry of Labour, Minister Foulkes; Mr. Matt Aubry of the Organization for Responsible Governance and Deputy Co-Chair of the National Committee and Ms. Kim Bodie of the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – The Minister of Labour, Senator the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes announced that in an effort to address the lack of sufficient skilled Bahamian workers to meet the demands of the current and future labour needs in The Bahamas, the Ministry of Labour has partnered with private industry, educational institutions, Labour Unions and Civil Society to hold a National Symposium on Skills Development in The Bahamas.

Minister Foulkes announced during a brief press conference on Wednesday that the Symposium which will be held on Monday, September 17th 2018,  at 9:00 a.m. at the National Training Agency on Gladstone Road will be officially opened by Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Alexander Minnis.

Minister Foulkes said, “The Symposium titled, ‘Forging our Future -- Assessing and Analyzing the Skills Gap in The Bahamas’ is an initiative of The Ministry’s National Committee for Industry & Skills Development in conjunction with key stakeholders and is designed for the government, the private sector, civil society, educational institutions and our international partners to collaborate in a comprehensive multi-sectoral approach to addressing this critical national problem.”

The Labour Minister added that the National Committee was formed by Cabinet several months ago and its membership includes representatives from the National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas (NCTUB); the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Trade Union Congress (CBTUC); The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation; the National Training Agency (NTA); the University of The Bahamas(UB); University of The West Indies; LJM Maritime Academy; Southern University; The Bahamas Institute of Financial Services; The Bahamas Contractors Association; the Organization for Responsible Governance   and many private sector companies both in Nassau and Grand Bahama. 

According to Minister Foulkes the national Chairpersons are: Mr. Carlton Neymour – Chairman. Deputy Co-Chairs are Mr. Matt Aubry; Mrs. Marisa Mason-Smith and Dr. Barbara Rodgers-Newbold.

Minister Foulkes also noted that a Subcommittee had been formed in Freeport and is co-chaired by: Mr. Greg Laroda – Chairman and Mr. Donald Glass - Deputy Chair.

“The Ministry of Labour considers the skills gap as a national priority. The longstanding negative impact of the disparity between employer needs and the available workforce has critically limited the growth of the private sector and subsequently the economic development of our nation,” Minister Foulkes commented.

He continued, “The Government recognizes that Bahamian employers regularly struggle to find sufficient staff with proficiency in the necessary technical and soft skills.  Therefore, the National Committee’s goal is to create a stronger pathway for job skills’ development and greater productivity.

The Government firmly believes that the reduction in the skills gap in The Bahamas can provide a critical and necessary step toward improving the ease of doing business, the expansion of the private sector, and growth of The Bahamas Gross Domestic Product and consequently increase in employment.”

Minister Foulkes stated that the Ministry of Labour and its partners are extremely excited to sponsor this historic event and look forward to a productive and rewarding Symposium that will address this critical need in our society.  

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