October 29, 2015
Local employers must do more to encourage skills development and combat the "prevalent mentality" of relegating certain employees to "lifers" within set positions, a corporate trainer and certified business coach has urged.
Charles Beneby, partner at training and staff development company Skills Bahamas Employment Agency (SBEA), lamented the "resistance" to further training and skills development that he believes exists within portions of the private sector, particularly the tourism sector.
"There are some people within our organizations that we have to train and make them 'lifers' in order to keep business flowing but we have a social responsibility to provide the community with a variety of world-class skills... Yes, I have to look out for my own best interests but I have a responsibility as an employer to enhance the entire workforce because a rising tide lifts all ships - that must be the philosophy that exists.
"Private sector entities have a right to train and expect their employees to be loyal to their cause but at the same time not put the chains on them," he said in an interview with Guardian Business.
SBEA recently announced a new certification initiative through a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), which is designed to provide internationally recognized training certification for guest service professionals and security officers employed in the tourism sector. The company is also expected to provide employment screenings for several hospitality companies next week.
Private sector organizations, including the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers' Confederation, have frequently stressed the need to boost productivity and further develop the country's human capital to remain competitive in the region, both in the tourism and financial services sectors. In fact, research conducted by the National Development Plan Secretariat has shown that The Bahamas' workforce is among the least productive in the region.
Although Beneby said that funding remains a common concern across industries, he called on employers to devote more funds to training programs in order to spur "cross-pollination" across companies and industries.
"There are times when an employer will tell you that 'the minute I train them they leave', which is good because then we have a constant renewal within the organizations across the country. The country as a whole will benefit.
"I see it as a constant channeling of people and that's what the workforce needs to be within The Bahamas. There are a limited number of workers and what we need to do is provide workers with high quality experiences so that going to work doesn't become drudgery," said Beneby.
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