The Importance of Skilled Saint Lucians to Economy Growth

IN the centre pages of this weekend’s issue of the newspaper are photos depicting Creole outfits and accessories designed by local designers for persons wishing to attire themselves in Jounen Kwéyòl ensembles.

What is particularly pleasing about the designs is not the eye-catching skills of the designers in creating these master pieces, as stunning and dazzling as they are, but the materials they used in making these glamorous articles of clothing and jewellery which were modelled earlier this week.

Imagine using tin cans, bottle tops, old sacks, can openers, compact discs, zips, any piece of cloth, and the list goes on, to make jewellery, flashy handbags, shirts, pants, dresses, suits, skirts—you name it, our designers can make it with almost anything we throw away. And that we applaud, meaning the creativeness, resourcefulness, inventiveness and ingenuity of the designers.

We can go on and on glorifying our wardrobe and accessory designers, and deservedly so, however we need to recognize the wider truth that right here in Saint Lucia are skilled people in incredibly diverse areas. We urge those individuals to seek avenues through which they could not just display their skills, cleverness, talents and expertise, but turn these skills, cleverness, talents and expertise into streams of revenue for themselves. We also call upon the powers that be, both political and economic, to make the economic way forward, full of opportunities, for those people.

It is in this vein that we support the Youth Economy initiative implemented by Prime Minister Philip J Pierre which presents a way out for unemployed but resourceful and creative individuals to become employed.

Saint Lucia is a developing economy with its largest industry being tourism. Nothing else equals tourism for the numbers employed and the jobs it provides, except – and we tread cautiously here, the development of small and medium sized enterprises; what is called SMEs.

We believe that by correctly harnessing the various skill sets of Saint Lucians we can develop a skilled workforce for strong and sustainable growth of the economy. And by doing so the quality of what we produce will improve which in turn will increase our competitiveness in export markets.

It must not be forgotten that strong skills development systems, policies and strategies help countries improve the employability of their citizens, promote equal access to employment opportunities, increase incomes, and lead to more inclusive and sustainable growth.

The four designers who modelled their work at Yellow Sands Luxury Villas located at La Toc showed us that skills are a fundamental element of decent work and that Saint Lucia’s prosperity is reliant on the skills of its people.

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