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Education 13 Jul, 2023 Follow News

UCCI President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Robert W. Robertson

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Studies at the University of London has published a research paper prepared by UCCI President and Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Robertson and Special Project Assistant at UCCI Peter Paul. Dr. Robertson also holds a Senior Research Fellow post at the University of London.

The paper is titled, Community Perceptions of Workforce Skills in the Caribbean. The research for the paper included a survey of eighty Rotarians across eight islands in the region as well as twelve semi structured interviews. The Cayman Islands (27) and the Bahamas (22) had the most respondents. Almost 80% of respondents were identified as senior managers in their companies and the largest responding group was the financial services sector.

Approximately 45% of respondents suggested that their workforce was not globally competitive. In fact, most respondents (51%) stated that lower literacy and numeracy skills of candidates represents significant challenges in hiring employees. Indeed, many firms identified the need to “upskill” new employees to meet their requirements.

In terms of the top challenges facing business with respect to local recruitment of employees’ respondents noted: limited qualified pool of candidates; a lack of job-ready skills such as soft skills; IT (digital) skills and technical and vocational (trade) skills.

Finally, 64% of respondents suggest that the regional skills gap has grown post-pandemic and that addressing the skills gap is important for companies and countries as they build competitive advantage in today’s global economy.

Dr Robertson notes that understanding the evolving needs of business and society is important for the education sector. “Universities must adapt to the changes that are evident in this Fourth Industrial Revolution—it is critical that universities provide students with the right skills to be globally competitive in today’s digital economy and skills gap research of this nature is a way to build that understanding.”

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