Barbadian youth seeking to explore their options for the world of work, have had access to numerous career showcases of late, and there are many more to come that will influence them in a positive way.
Yes, it is understood that not all school leavers will find their career of choice at a showcase, but the showcases are a plus, as not all schools can focus solely on work-life programmes for those getting ready to exit secondary school or even tertiary institutions.
A call has however been made for more principals and guidance counsellors in public and private secondary schools, to assess how career showcases can complement work-life programming in schools and move to embrace it.
The organisers of the 2017 World of Work Showcase held recently at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre went a bit further, noting that their showcase was designed to focus primarily on having youth consult with personnel from various agencies, who could give them guidance related to their desired career choices. The primary objective of that World of Work Showcase, was that of building the human resource capacity of Barbados.
The organisers made it clear that if Barbados is to have a productive workforce, “it is critical that young people are schooled about the culture of work and the expectations and demands of the workplace”.
It is also great when youth can explore their options at career showcases, designed to generate interest in particular sectors. This was seen with the recently held Tourism Career showcase, where youth interested in knowing more about the tourism industry, as well as those seeking out various career options in the sector, had the opportunity to meet with industry experts who could ably assist them.
That showcase was held by the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) as part of the activities for Tourism and Maritime Week 2017, and students from secondary and tertiary level institutions and youth in general, had the opportunity to explore the various booths set up to highlight such areas as culinary tourism, agro-tourism, adventure and leisure tourism, cultural heritage tourism, community tourism and business tourism, to name a few.
Following all these showcases however, what is needed are more opportunities for youth to get job attachments or get into apprenticeship programmes. While it is good to explore your “options”, it is even better to meet with key industry personnel who can hook you up to a job in these difficult economic times.
We therefore join Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, in her call for more job attachment and internship programmes on a whole, to better prepare youth for the world of work and to ensure that they have the necessary “soft skills”, to be effective on the job.
According to the Minister, “For some time now, employers in both the public and private sectors have expressed concern about the lack of readiness of new (entrants) in the workplace and the absence of critical soft skills, such as problem solving, diplomacy and effective communication”. As such business owners and human resource managers are being encouraged to create new, or to enhance existing programmes, to support job attachment and internships, providing valuable hands-on experience to help build the core competencies of our young people. We couldn’t agree more.