Retraining Our Saint Lucian Workforce

COVID-19 has dramatically affected the global economy and the effects on the Saint Lucian population have been magnified due to our significant dependency on tourism. We need to ensure that our Saint Lucian workforce has a broader array of skills and explore all available options to do so. More of our citizens should consider leveraging the numerous Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that offer accessible and affordable remote learning opportunities to students all over the world. We will explore some possible course options that might be of interest to persons who would like to develop additional skills.

Travel has been one of the industry’s most significantly impacted and this has decimated the Saint Lucian economy. “The decline in the first ten months of the year represents 900 million fewer international tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2019, and translates into a loss of US$ 935 billion in export revenues from international tourism, more than 10 times the loss in 2009 under the impact of the global economic crisis.” The current administration made it clear that they would be betting all of Saint Lucia’s limited resources on tourism. This “tourism-only” strategy is not a sustainable strategy as the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown with the severe economic downturn for the island. Therefore, we need to look at various ways to retrain our St. Lucian workforce to effectively contribute in the current global economy which requires the participation of all stakeholders.

Reskilling and MOOC Trajectory

COVID-19 has made it clear that our workforce needs to learn additional skills and we should leverage all available resources in our quest to do so “Two basic tenets: people realizing they can learn anything from anywhere, and remote work allowing people employment opportunities outside their communities. That is, of course, predicated on populations having access to the Internet and a basic education in areas like writing, math, or statistics.”

This would have been the ideal time for Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) to step up and show leadership in retraining our workforce. There is limited information on the SALCC news page which should be a primary information source in the current e-learning world. Furthermore, the Learning about Contingency Plans leads to a broken link “The requested URL was not found on this server.” SALCC continues to suffer from lack of funding and this significant resources constraint is evident and limits the range of courses that can be offered. We need to take a pro-active role in upskilling our workforce.

Some governments have collaborated with the various platforms such as Coursera for GovernmentCoursera helps organizations and countries gain a competitive edge by providing in-demand skills and learning paths to new jobs for the entire workforce. With content from global thought leaders and experience implementing national learning programs, Coursera is a trusted partner for skills transformation.” There is expected to be significant growth in the Massive Open Online Course industry and our government needs to devote attention and resources to that sector.

Sample of Possible Courses

Numerous persons are currently faced with the challenges of working and managing teams remotely for the first time. The strategies required are different for this new form of working and working and collaboration are different from the traditional in-person strategies. It might be helpful to consider EdX’s course on Re-Imagine Work: Strategies During COVID-19 and Beyond which could be an informative course.

Contact Tracing is of critical importance to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the Ministry of Health should ensure that all of their contact tracers have been sufficiently prepared for the task at hand. Coursera’s Measuring and Maximizing Impact of COVID-19 Contact Tracing could be extremely valuable for our contact tracing and help to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia.

Many persons are now going to have to relearn how to learn. This would include learning memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects.

The technology industry is going to be a major driver of employment in the future and we need more Saint Lucians to be better equipped with the necessary skills particularly since many jobs will now be possible to be done remotely. The pandemic has increased businesses’ acceleration towards digital transformation and underscored the power of technology and computer science skills to help overcome economic disruption across industries. Cloud computing in particular would be an area that is expected to see significant growth.

It is interesting to note that OJO Labs is hiring for positions such as a Cloud Infrastructure EngineerExperience with Kubernetes and AWS best practices, cross-account integration in AWS, cloud networking and security, identity access management, and autoscaling.” Instead, the Allen Chastanet administration believes that the best that the Saint Lucian public should aspire to are only call center jobs which millions of taxpayer dollars subsidize while all of the OJO Labs Engineering Jobs are only for Austin, Texas.

We need an administration that believes in Saint Lucia and Saint Lucians and is prepared to invest in our locals to develop our skillset and compete more effectively in this new COVID19 world.

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Critical data-driven research analysis of challenges facing Saint Lucia.

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The St. Lucian Analyzer

The St. Lucian Analyzer

Critical data-driven research analysis of challenges facing Saint Lucia.

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