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The Antigua and Barbuda Institute for Continuing Education (ABICE) is launching a special skills training program at the Harrison Centre to address the shortage of skilled labor in the country.
The Cabinet has given the green light for this program, which aims to equip young people with skills such as carpentry and masonry, among others.
The program is expected to last for an estimated 16 weeks, during which trainees will receive a small stipend and be required to pay a nominal fee of $20.00 for the training.
According to several senior government sources, the shortage of skilled labor is a real issue that the government has to contend with.
The skills shortage is so severe that if the government does not act immediately to upskill its people, this could harm planned developments in the New Year.
Several hotel projects are on the drawing books to start, as well as the expansion of the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus. However, the shortage of skilled labor in areas such as carpentry, masonry, electrical and plumbing could pose a significant challenge to these projects.
The government is prepared to pay the stipend to train young people to meet the country’s needs.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated that the decision is to train as many people as possible, as soon as possible, to help meet the skilled labor requirements.
The shortage of skilled labor is so severe that it could hinder the development of several luxury properties planned for the country, including a luxury property to be announced soon for Barbuda and a group out of the United Arab Emirates to develop the former Half Moon Bay property.
In light of this, some two hundred young people are being invited to apply for the training program at ABICE, which is expected to help address the shortage of skilled labor in the country.