Government Launches Initiative to Address Workforce Skills Gap

Executive Director of the National Training Agency, Gadville McDonald speaking during the launch of the National Workforce Skills Gap Survey 2021 during a press conference held at the National Training Agency on Gladstone Road, 21st June, 2021. (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)

The Government has embarked on a major initiative aimed at zeroing in on deficiencies in specialized skills in the country’s workforce. On Monday, 21st June, the Ministry of Labour in conjunction with the National Training Agency (NTA), the Department of Labour and the National Tripartite Council, formally announced the launch of the National Workforce Skills Gap Survey 2021 during a press conference held at the NTA on Gladstone Road.

Executive Manager at the Ministry of Labour, Robert Farquharson said that in 2012, a similar survey was conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Government of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, which confirmed that there were significant skills gaps in the Bahamian labour market and identified a number of sectors willing to employ Bahamians; however, there were insufficient trained and qualified Bahamians available to fill the vacancies including: Maritime, Information Technology, Construction and Medical & Allied Services.

“This national survey is designed to engage employers and business owners in The Bahamas by inviting them to answer 16 questions that will assist in the gathering of critical data to enable the Ministry of Labour to: identify the skills required by
the business community to make their enterprises more productive and efficient; design education and training programs to respond to the needs of employers and make the Bahamian labour force more competitive; provide the Department of Labour with additional data to improve the delivery of quality service to both jobseekers and employers that utilize the Public Employment Services Unit of the department; and provide important data to our policy makers when making decisions on the Bahamian labour market and policies and programs for our national development,” said Mr. Farquharson.

Executive Director of NTA, Gadville McDonald said that the survey is significant and is being conducted on a yearly basis. “We are requesting the participation of all Businesses and Employers in every island of The Bahamas,” said Mr. McDonald. “This is an opportunity for you to assist in bridging the skills gaps in our country and partner up to improve the overall efficiency and productivity within your own organization. We believe that the current climate created huge opportunities to train, up-skill and retrain the workforce of the Bahamas.”

Director of Labour, John Pinder, said he was excited by this proactive move by the government. He said that it would address the labour needs of the country and will significantly impact the need for foreign labour. “Currently, the Department of Labour is issuing over 10,000 labour certificates annually for skilled labour. This includes renewals of certificates for labourers who are already working in the country. I believe that this survey would address this area. In the end, if Bahamians are trained to do the various jobs that require certain specialized skills, we would be able to reduce the amount of labour certificates issued by about 50

This survey is being sent to all businesses and employers throughout the country and is also accessible at, and on the Ministry of Labour, NTA, Department of Labour, NTC facebook pages. The results will be tabulated and provided to all relevant parties.