PM Mottley notes training does not include degrees alone but encompasses skills development in non-traditional fields as well
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — Prime Minister Mia Mottley said on Thursday that the government is committed to any initiative that will help Barbadians gain the skills to become gainfully employed, granted it can afford to do so.
She made the comments during the Prime Ministerial Global Town Hall Meeting for Barbadians Living the Diaspora, singling out in particular the National Transformation Initiative (NTI).
Mottley said, “We are in the business of knowledge and creativity as a country and to that extent, therefore, as anything that allows us to increase the percentage of persons who have access to the skills — and notice I’m not saying degrees alone, because you can have a lot of degrees but very little skills and vice versa, so we need to be able to get it right.
“But anything that pushes the capacity of Barbadians to be able to be more effective in being able to access jobs or to be able to establish enterprises that sells services and skills that are perhaps non-traditional, we are going to support.”
She added, “With respect to the National Transformation Initiative, we set it up because we believe that we are not going to become world-class without giving every Barbadian an opportunity to be able to be exposed to the skills and attitudes that are necessary for us to engage the world.”
More than skill sets
The prime minister elaborated that the NTI programme seeks not only to “provide the level of training and support services that are necessary to give people the skills” to succeed, but also to “remind them of the attitudes necessary”.
“So, for example,” Mottley said, “the Citizenship Module has already been taken by quite a significant number of Barbadians, but ultimately we want as many Barbadians, whether adults or children, to be exposed to it so that they begin to understand what matters and what causes people to give you a foreword and what causes people to want to promote you. These things are absolutely critical.”
She noted that the NTI has partnered with online training website Coursera to provide over 15,000 courses in areas like tourism and financial literacy.
Additionally, she hinted that a partnership between Barbados and Guyana might be in the works to even further expand training and education opportunities.
“So, there’s so many different aspects of economic and social activity that the National Transformation Initiative will continue to work with,” Mottley said.