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News : International Last Updated: Aug 14, 2019 - 9:57:07 AM

ILO announces Future of Work Essay Competition winners
By International Labour Organization (ILO)
Aug 9, 2019 - 10:00:00 AM

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Mr Matthue Prescott (centre), first place winner of the ILO Future of Work Essay Competition in conversation with Mr Lars Johansen (left), Deputy Director of the ILO Office for the Caribbean and Ms Claudia Coenjaerts (right), Director of the ILO Office for the Caribbean.

First and second place winners receive full scholarships to attend ILO’s Future of Work Summer Academy in Turin, Italy

PORT OF SPAIN — Celebrating how youth envision an inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future of work for the Caribbean was the focus of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Essay Competition Awards Ceremony, held on 7 August 2019 in Port of Spain.

Organized in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (St. Augustine Campus), the Essay Competition invited undergraduate-level university students from across the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean to submit their best ideas on how the region can adapt to transformative changes to deliver economic security, equal opportunity and social justice.

The Competition, which launched on 11 April and closed on 28 June, sought to raise greater awareness of the ILO’s Future of Work initiative among Caribbean youth as part of its Centenary and 50th anniversary in the Caribbean celebrations. Contestants were asked to address the issues presented in the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work Report “Work for a Brighter Future”.

“The Report explores how powerful forces such as globalization; the technological and digital revolution; global warming and climate change; as well as demographic shifts are having profound impacts on Governments, Employers, Workers and society as a whole – including youth,” explains Ms Claudia Coenjaerts, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean.  “We launched this Essay Competition to encourage young people in the Caribbean to propose solutions to the challenges identified in the Report.”


A pan-Caribbean panel of judges representing the Government, Employers’ Organizations and Workers’ Unions presided over 23 submissions before making their selections for the top three winners.


The judges included Ms Natalie Willis, Permanent Secretary (ag.), Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development of Trinidad and Tobago; Mr Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour of The Bahamas; Ms Linda Froston, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Services of Sint Maarten; Mrs Shelly McLean-Robinson,  HR Administrator, Employers Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago; Mr Steven McAndrew, Director, Suriname Trade and Industry Association; Mrs Sheena Mayers-Granville, Executive Director, Barbados Employers’ Confederation; Mr Michael Annisette, President, National Trade Union Centre of Trinidad and Tobago; Ms Toni Moore, General Secretary, Barbados Workers’ Union; and Mr David Massiah, General Secretary, Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union.


First place winner Mr Matthue Prescott, a national of Trinidad and Tobago, is a student in the Bachelor of Science Program in International Management at the University of the West Indies Open Campus.  The judges were impressed with his essay, which included reference to ILO standards, as well as recommendations for the Caribbean to effectively adapt to the future of work transformations while mitigating risks. Mr Prescott’s submission also cited efforts in the Caribbean to advance renewable energy and green enterprises, and he highlighted Barbados as an example where green initiatives are being created and implemented.


I tried to take a holistic approach to writing the essay,” said Mr Prescott. “I took time to write the essay, to study and learn about the research that the ILO did pertaining to the world, and also how that applies to the Caribbean.”


Mr Omari Obaseki Joseph, who won second place, is a national of Saint Lucia who is studying in the Bachelor of Science in International Tourism programme at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. Mr Joseph’s essay also referenced ILO standards and included a focus on youth employment and development to meet new skills requirements. He also recommended that Caribbean countries invest in affordable, state-of-the-art information and communication technology (ICT) in order to create jobs, improve productivity and build more competitive economies.


Mr De Andre Albert, third place winner, is a national of Trinidad and Tobago and a student in the Bachelor of Science in Statistics programme at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus.

Mr Albert’s submission was recognized for its well-articulated position on the re-organization of economic priorities. He also proposed a knowledge-based economy which would include a revision to the education system and the promotion of innovation.


As first and second place winners, Mr Prescott and Mr Joseph receive full scholarships that include tuition, subsistence allowance and travel to attend the ILO’s “The Future of Work” Summer Academy from the 12th to 23rd of August at the ILO International Training Centre in Turin, Italy.


During the two-week course, they will join young people from around the world to participate in innovative dialogues, training, capacity building activities and knowledge management exercises connected to the Future of Work. They will gain insights into the jobs of tomorrow. They will also learn fair transitions to environmental sustainability, how to regulate the platform economy and new strategies to break the glass ceiling.


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