Categorized | National News

Sumner Challenges Gov’t to Take Action on Youth Development

Edison Sumner, CEO of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), urged the government to take deliberate steps to ensure that young Bahamians have a well maintained and robust environment to develop and enhance their skills and talents.

Sumner’s comment came yesterday during the ‘Transformation: Skills for Work’ workshop at the British Colonial Hilton, where he challenged the government to put the necessary measures in place to ensure that every Bahamian has the opportunity to be well trained and educated.

“This would allow them to take advantage of any job opportunity that becomes available in this country to ensure that we as a nation will have less reliance on the need to bring in international skills and labour that is reportedly often difficult to find in The Bahamas,” Sumner said.

He pointed out that young Bahamians appear to be frustrated, angry and anxious and their emotions are playing out in society in very negative ways.

“I believe that part of why they are so frustrated, angry and anxious, in many cases is because they are unable to find gainful employment, they have no money, no skills, they are living in socially challenging circumstances and they feel that they are not being heard, or even worse, that they are being ignored. Many of them have no respect, no drive and no ambition,” Sumner explained.

Therefore, he said it is important for the country to find ways to reach out to these individuals to help them find hope again, to lift their morale and to give them the excitement and the impetus they need to get to a place where they can be productive citizens and contribute positively to the growth and development of this great nation.

Sumner also challenged the private sector businesses to develop, or continue to develop strategies of innovation to cause the private sector and by extension the country to be more competitive, and to ensure that persons working within the private sector businesses have access to requisite training and development opportunities to keep them on the cutting edge of development trends globally.

“Our human resources is our greatest asset and as in the case of any business, great attention is always paid to assets of the company and resources, and spent to ensure that the assets remain valuable to the company,” Sumner added.

He explained that Baha Mar had a great demonstration of employer led staff training and readiness through its Leadership Development Institute, which trained hundreds of Bahamians to assume various roles at the resort.

“It is most unfortunate now to see the state that the development is in and I want to urge the government, the developers, the contractors and the bankers to work together in good faith, and for and on behalf of the good, decent and hardworking people of The Bahamas – who deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity and should be given every chance to be fully employed and engaged at that property,” Sumner said.

The BCCEC CEO also challenged the country’s trade and labour unions to use their influence to assist in providing worker training initiatives for union members so that they will become better qualified, better equipped to be more productive and be a greater asset to their places of employment where they can be in a position to demand higher wages and upward mobility.

Finally, Sumner challenged the country’s leading tertiary institution, which will soon become University of The Bahamas to consider the level of scholarship provided when designing curricula to ensure that what is taught and the areas of research embarked upon, will ultimately take into account the future needs of the country.

“There should be greater collaboration with private sector businesses to determine what their needs are and how the UOB can facilitate meeting those needs through the development of relevant courses and areas of research,” Sunmer said.

He also called for the establishment of a National Productivity Council which will work along with the government, private sector businesses and trade unions to ensure that activities in the labour force are properly monitored.

By doing this, Sumner explained that the council will be able to identify where the skills gaps exist and make the necessary assessment on how the gaps were created and make further recommendations on how such gaps can be closed.

“I believe that such a council will have the full support of the private sector as well as the trade unions in the country, similar to the support given to the establishment of the National Tripartite Council,” he added.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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