Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:00am
Local businesses are being told of the importance of training their employees.
That advice has come from President of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS), Vere Parris, who is adamant that schools cannot be expected to graduate students immediately ready for the “wide spectrum world of work”, and so he says that every business will need to invest in training them when they enter the workforce. He made the comments as he delivered remarks at the start of a Symposium for Senior Students of Secondary School held at Solidarity House last Friday by the Barbados Workers’ Union.
Parris said that while schools may on a “basic and limited level” prepare persons for the workforce, what is more important is that they graduate students with knowledge and competencies that make them easily trainable. He made the point while referring to a study done by consulting firm Deloitte, which he said found that digital skills become obsolete in as few as 2.5 years without training, due to the rapid innovation taking place in the technological field.
“Students in this morning’s session come from our schools, schools that are not equipped to keep pace with the digital advances. If we accept Deloitte’s finding, by the time the student reaches fifth form, digital information and skills learned in first form would have to be refreshed, if not re-taught. This also has implications for the training and retraining of teachers as well as updating and renewal of technological equipment and software,” the secondary school principal noted.
His comments came as he also referenced an article by Jeff Fernandez, CEO and Co-founder of Grovo, an online training and education platform to help businesses train employees, in which he noted that there are eight must have digital skills for today’s workforce. Those skills Parris noted include the efficient use of digital communication given that one study has suggested that 28 percent of employees’ work week is spent reading and responding to emails; the ability to efficiently create and navigate digital documents; and the ability to collaborate on projects across departments and even with colleagues working remotely from other offices or from home.
Touching also on the changing work environment as a result of technology, Parris noted that there is now encouragement, even here in Barbados, for flexible work environments which would see less necessity for workers functioning within an office setting. While noting that it would likely result in less traffic jams and in some cases more productivity, he added that it would call for a rethinking of the worker evaluation or performance review process. But admittedly, he indicated that not all businesses can operate like that. (JRT)