Minister Steven Mac Andrew this week separately hosted both the Supervisory Board of the Labour Mobilization and Development Foundation (SAO) and the Board of Directors of the Productive Work Units Foundation (SPWE) for introductions. The boards of both foundations that are working arms of the minister were also present on these occasions. Apart from the introduction, the Minister explained his views on the role that these working arms should play in the context of employment policy against the background of the many developments, but also challenges, in the labor market. The target group of young people has the minister’s full attention, so that they can enter the labor market well prepared, either as employees or as self-employed.  

The Minister emphasized that the Surinamese labor market is currently facing a number of serious disturbances which are manifested in a lopsided relationship between supply and demand, in particular the inability to find employees with the required skills and competencies. Against this background, according to Mac Andrew, it is important to make adjustments to the SAA curricula based on the needs and wishes of the business community. In this context, the minister referred to a recommendation by the ILO to introduce the Caribbean Vocational Qualification-Level 1 (CVQ). The SAO is already in preparation to implement the CVQ which is based on a competency-based approach to vocational education.  

According to Mac Andrew, both employment policy and youth policy are partly aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship among young people. He also believes that people with disabilities should be given the necessary attention and guidance to be able to do business and become self-reliant. The SPWE has a particular role to play in this. The Minister expressed his appreciation and satisfaction with the efforts of both the SAO and the SPWE to make people, including at-risk youth and people with disabilities, self-reliant and economically resilient. He encouraged both working arms to continue with their activities based on the needs and desires of the labor market. He assured them that they can count on support from the Ministry.   

Minister Mac Andrew was broadly informed by presentations from both foundations about developments that have been initiated and plans in progress. The SAO has started a new training for the production of specific clothing, but also a new training in hydroponics. Furthermore, the SAO has indicated that opportunities are being worked out to provide vocational training in all districts. He finds the intention of the SPWE to start a community project for the group “people with disabilities” great. The proposal was made to the Minister to help promote cooperation between the two working arms. The minister also listened to the pain points of the boards and indicated that they will be given due attention. 

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