Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 27, 2017 (SKNIS): Officials from the Department of Labour are exploring changes to its Employment Services Unit to enhance its functionality in matching persons with the jobs that best suit their skills, and improving the prospects for success once they join the labour pool.
The ideas were generated after participating in a five-day meeting entitled “Technical Workshop on Employment Services and Activation Policies” held in St. Maarten from February 13 to 17. St. Kitts and Nevis was represented by Gary Liburd, Chief Labour Officer in Nevis, Jacqueline Chiverton, Labour Officer – St. Kitts, and Lucinda Francis, Labour Officer and Head of the Employment Services Unit – St. Kitts.
The participants reviewed the role and the core functions of public employment services; explored guiding principles and logistical elements to consider when setting up an employment center; and covered basic competencies required of employment center staff.
Ms. Francis said the session was quite interesting and she has a better understanding of effective strategies that she can tap.
“Rather than just having persons (jobseekers) come in and we send them to the employer, matching their skills to the employer’s needs, we actually will seek to improve the employability of the individuals where we offer training to make them more marketable and offer counselling. We do some of that but we will be doing more of that now,” she stated.
Additionally, Ms. Chiverton said emphasis will be placed on working with vulnerable members of the labour force. This includes persons who are differently-abled, former convicts, and older persons, who are not yet at the retirement age. She added that the delegation also got a better understanding of ways to effectively market the Employment Services Unit.
“There is so much that we can offer the public and I think that this will help to reduce the unemployment rate and also to help government agencies to provide courses in the required skills that the market is going to need,” Ms. Chiverton said.
The local team will work together to form proposals that will be submitted to the Labour Commissioner for action.
The conference was organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Government of St. Maarten. The St. Kitts-Nevis officials thanked the St. Maarten Government for allowing them to participate in the sessions which were organized as an internal training for their staff.