Workers in the hotel and wider tourism sector, the hardest hit during this COVID-19 pandemic, have been for the past week re-skilling and up-skilling thanks to a joint initiative between the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the National Training Initiative (NTI).
The first workshop in the series, conducted at the BWU’s headquarters at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael, ran from Tuesday, July 7 through to Thursday, July 9 and concluded with the awarding of certificates of participation to the attendees.
In welcoming the first group, Principal of the Frank Walcott Labour College, Mrs. Doreen Deane remarked, “The Barbados Workers’ Union has for over 60 years made education a priority for its members.” She added, “Continuous education is paramount to individual growth and to the long-term development of any country that is why we have initiated this series of training workshops.”
The training programme is expected to continue until September 17 with another eight (8) three-day sessions, offering participants an opportunity to retool in the areas of Occupational Health and Safety Protocols; Effective Communication Skills; Ethics and Service Excellence; Industrial Relations; Conflict Resolution and Problem Solving; Wellness, Wellbeing and the Labour Legislation; as well as Crisis Management.
This suite of courses, facilitated by the Labour College of the BWU, was developed to meet the needs of this specific target audience. Mrs. Deane told the participants that on completion, they would be well equipped with the soft skills and necessary competencies vital to the success of the workplace. She noted, “It is important that our education models value these types of skills and provide new pathways to get people retrained and back into the workforce. Participants in any of these workshops will leave having enhanced their soft skills and being better able to maintain their present jobs or to elevate themselves within or outside of the hotel/tourism sector.
The expert line up of instructors for the first session hailed from a cross-section of industries and included Professor Dwayne Devonish, Dr. Diane Brathwaite, Ronald Chapman, Maria Holder-Small, Orlando ‘Gabby’ Scott, and BWU Deputy General Secretary Dwaine Paul.
The second workshop started today, Tuesday July 14th and will continue until the 16th where twenty-five (25) participants were hosted in another in classroom setting. In the coming weeks, the BWU hopes to expand the programme to a virtual platform, making it more flexible and readily accessible to an even wider audience not only in Barbados, but across the region.