The Belize Chamber of Commerce (BCCI) is the employer’s representative for Belize. The BCCI is recognized by the ILO. Many employers have often guessed that students leave schools without the necessary skills needed for the workforce. Now a study has shown that there is no need to guess as it is true. Kim Aikman, the CEO for the BCCI spoke to Love News about the findings.
Kim Aikman CEO BCCI: “We find ourselves as employers seeking workers to fill certain positions and we are unable to find some employees with the skills that we are requiring so we know thats the field on the ground but in order to have some kind of data to be able to probably go to the Ministry of Education to justify why we are asking for them to look at the school curriculums, we needed to come up with data to back us up so we decided to embark on this Skills gap study and we approach the ILO and we explain to them that we really wanted them to do it, it costs a lot of money and they assisted us and they funded the study for us. We were unable to do it in every single sector so what we did, we differentiated and we look at the more important ones or the ones where the employers are asking for more skilled labour and those are in the agriculture and the ICT sector and today we are here to launch the results. What we saw after we finished the study which is what we felt on the ground is that yes there is actually a gap in what is being taught in the schools, the school curriculum and what employers are expecting when they hire somebody from Tertiary level institution. “
Jose Sanchez: “Can you say what areas we are lacking in?”
Kim Aikman CEO BCCI: “Well basically it’s the curriculum that needs to be changed in terms of the ICT area, I think we do the basic Microsoft sweep and we need to look at things like programming and just different aspects, I can’t remember the exact detail of it but definitely in that area we are lacking but in the Agriculture sector. I think everybody looks at Agriculture as getting out there, getting their hands dirty and and going but there is a science behind agriculture and the business of agriculture and that is not taught in the schools.”
The BCCI does not work in a vacuum. The Chamber also meets with the Ministry of Education to discuss the results for technology and agriculture to ensure the right measures and changes are adapted to the curriculum. The document produced by the BCCI is called “Skills Mismatch in the Agriculture and ICT Labor Markets.”