Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
MINISTER OF LABOUR, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr Esther Byer, is not satisfied with the number of local employers who have approached the National Employment Bureau (NEB) to set up internship programmes.
Her comments came at the closing ceremony for the World of Work (WOW) Internship Programme, held at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Tuesday.
Dr Byer said that while many employers usually had their own models for hiring employees and accepting interns, the NEB could assist where this was concerned.
“I invite all employers in every sphere of activity in Barbados to meet with me and my Ministry to discuss issues around internship, and how we can expand the system to the benefit of all concerned,” she stated.
The Labour Minister stressed the importance of internship programmes such as WOW, and gave her experiences while studying medicine as an example.
“In the medical field, you can put in many years of study before you actually graduate, and then they say that you are not ready yet because you have to do an internship. Whether it was a year-and-a-half or two years, that internship period gives you the experience so you can take care of patients on your own. And it is not just important in medicine but in every career path,” she maintained.
Sponsored by the Human Resource Development Strategy and conducted by Profiles Caribbean Inc. and the BCCI, the WOW internship programme enables students from secondary and tertiary institutions to hone employability skills, which contribute to their overall career development.
Senator Byer also stated that she was pleased that the programme was open to persons with special needs, as she had been approached by the Barbados Council for the Disabled regarding opportunities for such persons.
Since the WOW programme was conceptualised, over 130 students have received training in résumé writing, interview skills, business etiquette and communication skills. As the programme continues over the next few weeks, an additional 70 persons will be trained, including those with special needs.
The Human Resource Development Strategy is an initiative of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, and is being supported through grants from the European Union. (BGIS)